Free concert will focus on operatic singing

November 16, 1990|By Peter Krask | Peter Krask,Evening Sun Staff

Mark Markham would like audiences to reconsider their approach to opera. This Sunday evening at the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, Markham, along with a quartet of singers, will present a concert of operatic excerpts designed to focus attention on the music.

"People get so caught up in the staging of an opera that they forget what it is really about." he says. The essential ingredients of opera, according to Markham, are human relationships and music. With that in mind, he chose selections from several operas specifically for the relationships they contain. "They may be friends, lovers, parents or enemies. Whatever characters the singers are, their interaction will tie the program together," he says.

Markham, a noted pianist and faculty member at the Peabody Conservatory and Morgan State University, was intrigued by the variety of operatic styles that were popular with audiences. He pulled together arias, duets, trios and quartets from operas such as "La Traviata," "The Barber of Seville," "Cosi Fan Tutte," "La Cenerentola," "Rigoletto" and "The Pearl Fishers." Then he invited singers he had previously worked with and asked if they would be interested in performing.

They all eagerly agreed. Together they form a quartet of considerable talent. Lyric soprano Daisy Jackson, mezzo soprano Theodora Hanslowe, tenor Jeffrey Fahnestock, and baritone Thomas Zielinski will appear in various combinations and then end the program with the celebrated quartet from Verdi's "Rigoletto."

Zielinski, who has recently moved to Baltimore from Chicago, liked Markham's ideas. "A program like this can help bring the world of grand opera to people who want to hear this music but can't always go to the opera," he says. He is also looking forward to introducing himself to Baltimore audiences.

"Mark Markham and Operatic Friends" will appear at the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation on Nov. 18 at 8 p.m. Admission is free.

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