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Brentano Quartet with Dawn Upshaw

Sunday, February 21, 2021 3:00PM

Brentano Quartet with Dawn Upshaw

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Soka Performing Arts Center

Serena Canin, violin
Mark Steinberg, violin
Misha Amory, viola
Nina Lee, cello
Dawn Upshaw, soprano

Co-presented by Soka Performing Arts Center
Laguna Chamber Music Series sponsored by Sam and Lyndie Ersan

"Dido Reimagined"

Five-time Grammy-winning vocalist Dawn Upshaw joins the Brentano String Quartet in “The Dido Project,” a soprano monodrama exploring the strong yet vulnerable character of Dido from Purcell’s famous opera Dido and Aeneas. The music in this program’s first half – early English works for consort of viols and songs originally for voice and lute – will flow toward the famous Lament from Dido and Aeneas, in which Dido confesses an intensely intimate plea to a friend. “Remember me!” she repeatedly exhorts as she relinquishes her hold on life. And so, in the second half of the program, we do. Composer Melinda Wagner and librettist Stephanie Fleischmann breathe new life into Dido, imagining her psyche, her vulnerability and her strength. This monodrama will probe Dido’s inner resources, and the emotional richness inherent in her predicament. We will all peer together into her character through the concentrated closeness of the chamber music experience.

Dawn Upshaw has achieved worldwide recognition as an exceptional soprano with a concert repertoire ranging from the sacred works of Bach to the freshest sounds of today. Her ability to reach to the heart of music and text has earned her both the devotion of an exceptionally diverse audience, and the awards and distinctions accorded to only the most distinguished of artists, including a MacArthur Genius Grant in 2007.

An ensemble with “seemingly infallible instincts for finding the center of gravity in every phrase and musical gesture” (The Times London), the Brentano String Quartet has appeared throughout the world to popular and critical acclaim. Within a few years of its formation, the Quartet garnered the first Cleveland Quartet Award and the Naumburg Chamber Music Award; and in 1996 the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center invited the quartet to be the inaugural members of the coveted Chamber Music Society Two.