Classical Action: Performing Arts Against AIDS closes its 2012 Michael Palm Series of house concerts on Thursday, May 17, with a memorable evening of song from soprano Christine Brewer and pianist Craig Rutenberg. Held in the Tribeca loft apartment of supporters Simon Yates and Kevin Roon, who have hosted all concerts in the series since 2010, the upcoming recital is part of the New York City-based salon series named for the charity’s late benefactor. The performance begins at 7:30pm, following an hour of wine and hors d’oeuvres; tickets for this series-closing concert may be purchased online at www.classicalaction.org or by calling Classical Action at (212) 997-7717. For the first time in the history of the Michael Palm Series, the music may also be enjoyed beyond this cozy salon setting: the recital will be recorded for a broadcast presentation at a later date on SiriusXM’s Symphony Hall, channel 76.
Grammy Award-winning American soprano Christine Brewer, named one of the top 20 sopranos of all time by BBC Music magazine, was recently lauded as being “in outstanding voice…, floating her high passages effortlessly with clarity and a sound like molten gold.” The review continued: “With that devastating vocal beauty came a powerful stage presence; Brewer exuded a sense of peace to match the music” (St Louis Post-Dispatch). According to the New York Times’s Anthony Tommasini, she is “in her prime and sounding glorious,” while as London’s Sunday Times observes, “she brings a soaring opulence” to her interpretations. Fresh off a May 13 recital with Rutenberg at Alice Tully Hall, Brewer joins Classical Action for the first time on May 17.
While renowned for her stunning portrayals of Wagner, Strauss, Verdi, and Britten heroines, the soprano is equally at home on the recital stage, often appearing in concert and recital at some of the world’s greatest concert halls. To date, her 2011-12 highlights include singing Wagner and Beethoven for the Atlanta Symphony’s season-opening concert, undertaking the Wesendonck Lieder with the New World Symphony under Michael Tilson Thomas, and joining the San Francisco Symphony and Esa-Pekka Salonen for excerpts from the Ring cycle.
Pianist Craig Rutenberg, “whose playing range[s] from sterling directness to expansive beauty” (San Francisco Chronicle), has collaborated with many of the world’s greatest vocalists and is recognized as one of the most distinguished accompanists on the stage today. The upcoming performance marks his third collaboration with Classical Action, and his second appearance in the Michael Palm Series, following a 1996 recital with the late American tenor Jerry Hadley. Besides regularly partnering Brewer, Rutenberg has appeared in recital with Denyce Graves, Sumi Jo, Harolyn Blackwell, Susanne Mentzer, Frederica von Stade, Angelika Kirchschlager, and Dawn Upshaw, and, more frequently, Ben Heppner, Jerry Hadley, Olaf Baer, Simon Keenlyside, Stanford Olsen, and Thomas Hampson, with whom he performed at the White House under the Clinton administration. Rutenberg is also the Director of Music Administration at the Metropolitan Opera and a noted interpreter of operatic repertoire.