Eberhardt, Mihanovic, Moss, Breault and Lee Share the Magic of Christmas with Free Concert in Salt Lake City
With Christmas just around the corner, some of Salt Lake City’s finest musicians are planning to celebrate Christmas with a song…or 10! The idea that started out as a nice, celebratory hour-long Christmas recital has now turned into an exciting concert with guest artists, and less time than there are songs they want to perform! (Tuesday, December 22nd, 7:00 p.m., University of Utah, Dumke Recital Hall)
Mezzo-Sopranos Stina Eberhardt and Ana Mihanovic, Bass-Baritone and Pianist Jed Moss, Tenor Robert Breault and Soprano Clara Hurtado Lee will be performing a wide range of Christmas music that spans a millennium! Whether the music is traditional or a new arrangement, the artists promise some surprises along the way.
I spoke with Eberhardt, Mihanovic, Moss and Breault about the concert, and none was at a loss for words. Speaking highly about each other, their excitement for this Christmas concert could barely be contained, and my own Christmas spirit grew!
Here’s what they had to say:
How long have you known each other? Have you previously worked together?
Stina Eberhardt: Jed and I and have known each other for about seven years now, I believe. Time flies! And I have known Ana and Clara for about eight years; we met while we were working on degrees at the University of Utah. Dr. Breault (as I still call him!) I have known for the same length of time. He was my main voice teacher throughout my degrees in school.
Ana and Stina both did their Masters degrees with me at the University of Utah. I met Ana when she was a freshman….actually, before that! Stina came to work with me at about the same time. Students like these make teaching seem worthwhile!
Ana Mihanovic: I have known Stina for eight, Clara for 10 and Robert for over 11 years. Clara, Stina and I met as undergraduate music students at the University and grew together under the guidance of Robert Breault – so we are all connected! We share years of schoolwork, performing, good times, difficult times and amazing memories of figuring out the craft and joy of singing!
What is the repertoire for Tuesday’s concert?
Stina Eberhardt: My idea for this concert was to create something a bit different than the average recital. I really wanted to do something that included a wide range of styles.
When I thought of this concert, I couldn’t think of anyone better than Jed. I knew he would be able to pull off jazz, classical, and pop styles all in one evening – and do it fantastically well! Jed also has a beautiful baritone voice. I am really excited that he wants to play the piano as well as sing on a few numbers.
The repertoire will mostly go in chronological order, starting with a piece from the 1100s and moving all the way through to the 21st century. Some of the pieces will be performed traditionally and others will have new arrangements or “takes”. The music will range from Messiah to Baby It’s Cold Outside.
And with my good friend, the very talented Ana Mihanovic, joining us for this concert, you will get to hear a lot of duets with two mezzo voices.
What is special about this time of year for you?
Stina Eberhardt: I think that Christmas time is a really special time of year. It is the best time to put on a concert like this. The music is so beautiful, and being able to share this with friends and family is such a wonderful thing to me.
I have so many memories of Christmas music over the years. Every season, I have my favorite album that I listen to over, and over, and over again. One year it may be by a single artist, the next, maybe a collection. Once I started studying opera, I also started listening to classical Christmas music, and grew to love that too. One of my favorite Christmas albums of all time is Anne Sofie Von Otter’s Home for Christmas. She is a mezzo-soprano like me and I really admire her work as an opera singer. So to hear her fabulous Christmas album, which has a wide variety of music on it, is a real treat.
Robert Breault: Christmas is simply the best time of the year to me. I have such fond memories going all the way back to my childhood in Wisconsin, where it was very cold and everyone seemed to sing to keep warm! My earliest memories of Christmas include listening to favorite albums….Johnny Mathis, Ray Conniff, The MTC, and, a rare barbershop album of Christmas music by a group called the Evans Brothers, the copy of which my Dad wore out, and, which, thankfully, I was able to find last year on eBay!
Jed Moss: Christmas is and has always been a MAGICAL time for me. There is a palpable energy all around us, derived in part from thoughts of family and friends and all of the things for which we’re grateful. People are reflective, emotional, hopeful, generous and receptive. What a perfect time to express joy through music and experience the magic that it brings.
What can you say about your fellow artists?
Ana Mihanovic: Standing up with Clara and singing a soprano/mezzo duet is classic U of U ol’ school…but I’ve never really had a chance to sing together with Stina since we happen to have the exact same voice type. We’ve been colleagues but never collaborators.
This Christmas Concert is our solution to precisely this question: How can two best friends, both lyric mezzo-sopranos who are dying to sing together, create an interesting musical program based on duets? The answer: very LOW music. That’s right. Who needs sopranos? We will show you what two low female voices can do together. Add in some new arrangements, some old arrangements (yes, 12th century included), some instruments and some history lessons, and you have the recipe for a unique program that will instruct, entertain and hopefully inspire.
I am truly excited to meet and work with Jed, finally. Stina knew from the start that he would be the perfect partner for this type of musical venture and we couldn’t do this without him.
Robert supported our idea with the enthusiasm of a five-year-old boy about to open a Christmas present, so we were thrilled when he agreed to join us as a guest performer and bring in his many talents (yes, African drums included).
Robert Breault: Both Ana and Stina are remarkable artists in every way, and they are wonderful people too. I really missed them and am so happy that we’re going to be able to “play” together again!
Jed Moss: The quality of Stina’s voice inspires me to sing. Her operatic production is incomparable…she always maintains that incredible “core” in her voice that I like to call the sweet spot. Her singing appears to be so natural and effortless, never hitting a ceiling, always buoyant and resonant. I have wished for quite a while now to collaborate with Stina in a concert setting, and that day has finally arrived.
Amazingly enough, we have worked together in the arena of popular music singing in duets and other arrangements for the group Air Supply and singer/songwriter Graham Russell. Stina was a real “standout” in that capacity as well, never compromising her sense of style or technical prowess. It was a privilege to sing with her, and I’m most excited now to collaborate and support this talent from the piano.
I strive to think like a singer while at the piano, lending the same cantabile feeling to the phrasing. Breathing like a singer, executing legato the way I imagine a string player would sound. Stina is such a natural…I just know this collaboration will amount to something special!
Stina Eberhardt: There is so much to say! Jed is a phenomenal musician, an amazing colleague, and on top of all that, he is an extremely kind, wonderful human being.
Ana said how great it is that we finally get to sing together. And what she said is perfect. In developing ideas for this concert, the concept of having us both sing duets was so exciting. Mezzo’s rarely get to sing together, and one rarely hears duets between two low voices. Ana is one of my best friends and being able to sing so much with her is absolutely glorious! I am thrilled that this concert will include so much of that!
Clara, has a beautiful soprano voice and to get to hear her sing Messiah with Ana will be a real treat. I don’t know how long it has been since those two have been able to perform together. We are very lucky to have Clara on this concert! And the recent news that Dr. Breault will be joining us make me so, so unbelievably happy! For anyone that has seen him perform, you know why I am so happy about this.
What makes this concert special for you? Why are you having this concert?
Robert Breault: Because I love to sing! I love to sing all kinds of music, and, I’m looking forward to singing music I don’t have to think too much about with friends that I adore!
Stina Eberhardt: Christmas is my favorite time of year and Christmas music is my favorite music. It is a type of music that seems to have a place for every genre of music there is out there. I think I have always wanted to do a Christmas concert because of that. It is really intriguing to me that I can say, for example, “hmmmm, I would really like to sing The Coventry Carol but with two voices…” and I can go and find something that would work for that. There are just a lot of fun options. So, this concert will feature a lot of duets and trios and a lot of variety.
So, really, the reason I am so excited about this concert is that I get to sing and perform with four musicians I highly, highly respect. On top of that, they are all very good friends. The talent in this concert overwhelms me! Dr. Breault, Clara, Ana, and Jed are phenomenal, meticulous, brilliant performers. I am in awe that these kind of people have been able to come together to create this concert. It will definitely be memorable!
Ana Mihanovic: We all wanted to do this for our friends and families, and we hope the concert will convey precisely that feeling of warmth and intimacy we all crave at Christmastime.
Jed Moss: For all the reasons mentioned, and because there is momentum in our lives and our careers at this time driving us forward. There are no mere coincidences, and I feel a strong desire to participate in this kind of project. This event has taken shape purely because we are happy to be doing this kind of work together, not because we HAVE to, but because we GET to.
When You Go:
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
7:00pm – 9:00pm
Dumke Recital Hall, University of Utah
1375 Presidents Circle
Salt Lake City, UT
About the Artists
Robert Breault – Tenor Robert Breault, who enjoys an international career that encompasses opera, oratorio, recital, and concert work, is known for his warm and flexible voice and dramatic acting skills. He has been praised by Opera News for making “an excellent impression, his mellifluous tenor boasting clarity of both tone and diction; clearly reveling in high notes, he sang with notable dynamic variety,” and by the San Francisco Chronicle for having a “tenor of unwavering resonance.”
Highlights of Breault’s operatic performances from the last several seasons include Alfredo in La Traviata for his debut with New York City Opera as well as with the New Orleans Opera, Steva in Jenůfa with Utah Opera, Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor, Rodolfo in La Bohème and the title role in Verdi’s Stiffelio all with Chautauqua Opera, and Roland in Esclarmonde with the Washington Concert Opera. Robert portrayed the leading tenor role of Célestin de Pontalba in the World Premiere of Thea Musgrave’s Pontalba: A Louisiana Legacy with New Orleans Opera, Count Almaviva in Il Barbiere di Siviglia for his debut with Opera Grand Rapids and also with the Madison Opera, and Tom Norman in Petitgirard’s Joseph Merrick dit “Elephant Man” with Opéra de Nice. Numerous engagements with the Atlanta Opera over the course of his career include performances in Verdi’s Macbeth, Nabucco, and La Traviata, Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier, Gershwin’s Of Thee I Sing, and Puccini’s Turandot. Performances with the Utah Opera include roles in Britten’s Turn of the Screw, Prodigal Son, and Verdi’s Falstaff. In addition, he has appeared in productions with Madison Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Canada’s Opera Atelier, Hamilton Opera, and toured with the San Francisco Opera Western Opera Theater. Artist Bio
Stina Eberhardt – Stina Eberhardt is a singer and performer whose voice has been heard in many genres and on multiple recordings. She performs opera and new music in venues and on stages across the United States. In the summer of 2009, she appeared with the Utah Festival Opera as a Festival Artist where she covered the title role in Carmen. Eberhardt was also a finalist in the Concorso Lirico International Opera Competition. In the fall of 2009, she sang The Raven by Gerald Elias at the Third Annual Edgar Allan Poe Conference in Philadelphia, and appeared as Maddalena in Rigoletto with Utah Light Opera. She will return to Utah Festival Opera for the summer 2010 season where she will cover the role of Flora in La Traviata, and sing the roles of Sister Berthe in The Sound of Music and Berta in Il Barbiere di Siviglia.
Eberhardt’s past roles include: The Princess in Suor Angelica; Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni; Mrs. Jones in Street Scene; and Hata in The Bartered Bride with the Utah Lyric Opera Ensemble. She appeared as Ottavia in La Musica Lirica’s production of L’incoronazione di Poppea, as well as Edith in The Pirates of Penzance with Lyric Opera of San Antonio. She played many diverse roles during two seasons with the Ohio Light Opera, including: Ruth in The Pirates of Penzance; Sister Margaretta in The Sound of Music; Cousin Hebe in H.M.S. Pinafore; Mrs. Paroo in The Music Man; and Lady Blanche in Princess Ida. Artist Bio
Ana Mihanovic – Mezzo-Soprano Ana Mihanović is from Spilt, Croatia. She has been a featured soloist with the Southwest Symphony, American West Symphony, Legacy Chorale and Utah Philharmonia in performances of Handel’s Messiah, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 and concert versions of Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier. She has also appeared as a guest soloist with the Contemporary Music Consortium and Chamber Music Society of Salt Lake City, the Lincoln Center Chamber Society in New York City, and was a chosen participant of the 2006 Cleveland Art Song Festival. In January 2009, Ana participated in a master class with Maestro James Levine presented by the Marilyn Horne Foundation annual festival, The Song Continues, in Carnegie Hall. Ana is a five-time first place winner of the Northern Utah NATS vocal competition and has won an Encouragement Award from the Marilyn Horne Foundation Competition.
Equally active on the operatic stage, Ana’s roles include Anna Maurrant (Street Scene), Ludmila (The Bartered Bride), Meg Page (Merry Wives of Windsor), and Venus (Orpheus in the Underworld) with the Utah Lyric Opera Ensemble; Musetta (La Bohéme) and La Zelatrice (Suor Angelica) with La Musica Lirica; and Flora (La Traviata) with San Antonio Opera. In 2005 and 2008, Ana was part of the Music Academy of the West summer festival where she performed the role of Diana in the West Coast premiere of William Bolcom’s A Wedding.
Jed Moss – Jed Moss is a prolific performer who has appeared on the Columbia Artists’ Community concert series, the Utah Arts Council Performing Arts Tour, the Mendelssohn Society of Chicago series, the Nova Concert series, the Utah Chamber Music Society series, the Canyonlands New Music series and the Contemporary Music Consortium. He has been a featured soloist as well as a collaborative pianist in over 25 concerts with orchestras, instrumentalists, and celebrated vocalists from the U.K. and North America on Utah’s Temple Square Concert series.
As a collaborative pianist, Moss has performed with musicians from the nation’s top orchestras, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the New York Philharmonic. He has performed at the Jackson Hole, Deer Valley, Utah and Bear Lake Music Festivals. Moss has soloed with orchestras in Idaho, Utah, Texas and Washington D.C. In 2007, Moss appeared in Montevideo, Uruguay, performing Liszt’s 1st piano concerto and the South American premier of Gorecki’s piano/harpsichord concerto. Moss is the keyboardist for the Utah Chamber Orchestra, and has soloed numerous times in various piano concerti in collaboration with Utah’s Ballet West. Moss has worked as a studio musician since 1992, recording for motion picture soundtracks at L.A. east studios in Salt Lake City. He has played on several Hallmark Hall of Fame made for TV movies as well as Merchant Ivory films. As a recording artist, Moss has collaborated with various instrumentalists as well as vocalists, frequently premiering newly commissioned works. Moss appears on Centaur, Summit, Albany, Warner and Deseret Book.
Moss can be heard on newly-released Shadow Mountain Records’ (in partnership with EMH Classical Music) Sunday Morning Classics Sunday Morning with Beethoven, currently available through Deseret Book. Artist Bio
Clara Hurtado Lee – Coloratura Soprano Clara Hurtado Lee is an active Opera Singer, Concert Soloist, Recitalist, and Voice Teacher. She has performed with; Utah Symphony & Opera, Utah Light Opera, Utah Lyric Opera Society, and Utah & Idaho Performing Arts Company. As a concert soloist she has sung with; Salt Lake Choral Artists, America West Symphony, Southwest Symphony, and The Orchestra & Chorus of Sandy City. Clara earned Bachelor and Master of Music degrees in Vocal Performance from the University of Utah. Clara’s repertoire includes over 30 opera and concert roles. She looks forward to competing in the 2010 NATS Artist Award Competition.
Photos courtesy of the artists.
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