Music and dance are almost inextricably linked, so it makes perfect sense that the next Opera Conservatory Voice Recital will embrace the interconnections of the two.
Kanae Matsumoto and Martin Dubé, Opera Conservatory faculty who are colloquially known as M&M Piano Duo, chose pieces that had connections to dance to showcase the importance of music in dance.
At 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 27, in McKnight Hall, Matsumoto and Dubé will join two Opera Conservatory students, Marquita Richardson and Hope Nelson, and two voice faculty members, Dominic Armstrong and Jonathan Beyer, as they present tangos, waltzes, salsa and polka.
The musicians will perform some classics, such as Brahms’ four-handed “Liebeslieder-Walzer.” To complement this waltz, they will also sing “Liebeslieder Polkas,” written by PDQ Bach, who is actually musical satirist Peter Schickele — the “forgotten” child of Johann Sebastian Bach.
Light-hearted but challenging, Opera Conservatory voice teacher and tenor Armstrong feels this music lets the talents of the Opera Conservatory students shine.
“It is such a pleasure to work with these two marvelous students, Marquita and Hope, who are being introduced to these pieces for their first time in this recital,” Armstrong said. “Like the vast majority of the voice students chosen for the Opera Conservatory, they are not only exceedingly talented vocalists, but incredibly sensitive and musical performers. Getting to know their voices even more on the Brahms is a true thrill.”
Armstrong also shared his excitement to be on stage with fellow voice teacher Beyer. The two voice teachers have a history that spans beyond this summer as they both attended The Curtis Institute of Music together and came to Chautauqua Institution as students to sing and perform.
Now that Armstrong has returned, not as a student but as a faculty member, he wants to help his students grow as much as his voice teachers helped him. He cited Opera Conservatory Director Marlena Malas, Music School Festival Orchestra Artistic Director Timothy Muffitt, Chautauqua Opera Company General and Artistic Director Steven Osgood and Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra Music Director Rossen Milanov as having a huge impact on his singing career. He now wants to give back to Chautauqua Opera Conservatory students.
“I find it an incredible honor to be here in this new capacity and feel an extreme sense of responsibility to do well by these voices and artists that have been put in our care,” Armstrong said.