Classical Action Closes 2010-11 Season with Vocal Recitals by Stephanie Blythe with Warren Jones and Joyce DiDonato with Jeremy Denk

To close out its 2010-11 season, Classical Action: Performing Arts Against AIDS presents two great collaborations in its annual Michael Palm Series of house concerts in New York City. On April 6, mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe, fresh from portraying Fricka in Das Rheingold at the Metropolitan Opera, will present a recital with pianist Warren Jones. The series closes on May 4, when Gramophone’s “Artist of the Year” mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato joins forces for a duo recital with pianist Jeremy Denk, whose recent solo recital debut at Carnegie Hall’s Isaac Stern Auditorium won high praise. Both concerts will be held at the magnificent Tribeca loft apartment of longtime Classical Action supporters Simon Yates and Kevin Roon. Tickets for all concerts in the series can be purchased online at www.classicalaction.org or by calling (212) 997-7717.

Stephanie Blythe, recently called “vocally sumptuous” by the New York Times, is performing her first concert for Classical Action. Although she has concluded her run of Das Rheingold at the Met, Blythe hardly takes a break before continuing in the Met’s Ring Cycle when Die Walküre opens on April 22. In addition to joining Classical Action for the fundraising concert, Blythe will co-host the Opera News Awards with Patti LuPone on April 17. For the April 6 Classical Action concert, Blythe will be accompanied by Warren Jones, who was recently named “Collaborative Pianist of the Year” by Musical America.

On May 4, Classical Action is proud to present two of the hottest artists working today. Joyce DiDonato, who is currently winning raves in the Met’s new production of Rossini’s Le comte Ory, recently wrapped up a North American recital tour about which critics are still abuzz; the Chicago Tribune proclaimed, “Not only is she the leading Rossini singer of her generation, Joyce DiDonato has few if any peers as a song recitalist.” The American mezzo is also an exclusive EMI Classics recording artist; having recently re-signed with the label, her new solo recording, titled Diva, Divo, was released earlier this year.

If any other artist is having as picture-perfect a season as DiDonato’s, it is probably her collaborator for this house concert, pianist Jeremy Denk. Denk just made his Los Angeles Philharmonic debut with Gustavo Dudamel on March 17, filling in for an indisposed Martha Argerich. The following week, Denk gave his second Carnegie Hall recital of the season – and his first solo performance on the main stage – when he stepped in to replace an ailing Maurizio Pollini, prompting the New York Times to call him “an accomplished and adventurous pianist with boundless enthusiasm and stamina.” Another highlight of Denk’s season was the release of Jeremy Denk Plays Ives, the album released in October 2010 on the pianist’s own Think Denk Media label. Choosing Denk’s Ives disc as one of the “Ten best classical albums of 2010,” the Washington Post marveled: “Denk’s piano playing mingles urbanity with unabashed beauty. … Downright seductive.” Both Jeremy Denk and Joyce DiDonato are longtime supporters of Classical Action, having previously performed in house concerts to support the organization.

The 2010-11 Classical Action Michael Palm Series, the first in its new home, the Tribeca loft of Yates and Roon, opened in December with a solo recital by renowned pianist Garrick Ohlsson.

About the performers

Mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe is considered one of the most highly-respected artists of her generation. She regularly appears in the great opera houses of the world; this season she sings Fricka in the Metropolitan Opera’s new productions of Das Rheingold and Die Walküre and makes her debut at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in Un ballo in maschera and The Mikado. Pianist Warren Jones has recently been named “Collaborative Pianist of the Year” (2010) by Musical America. He performs with many of today’s best-known artists, including Denyce Graves and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, and is the principal pianist for the exciting California-based chamber group Camerata Pacifica.

Wherever she sings, mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato earns rhapsodic reviews. Called “the flame-toned American mezzo” by Britain’s Daily Telegraph, she is among the world’s most enchanting performers. Already an enormous star on the world’s greatest opera and recital stages, DiDonato recently won “Artist of the Year” and “Recital of the Year” at the 2010 Gramophone Awards. She was also awarded “Singer of the Year” at the 2010 ECHO Klassik Awards – the German equivalent of America’s Grammys. American pianist Jeremy Denk has steadily built a reputation as one of today’s most compelling and persuasive artists with an unusually broad repertoire. His new CD, Jeremy Denk Plays Ives, features Charles Ives’s Piano Sonatas 1 & 2 (“Concord”). “Think Denk”, the popular blog where the pianist describes his experiences and provides detailed musical analyses, has been widely praised; the New Yorker called Denk a “superb musician who writes with arresting sensitivity and wit.”

About Classical Action

Founded in 1993 by Charles Hamlen, Classical Action: Performing Arts Against AIDS is a program of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS (BC/EFA), one of the nation’s leading industry-based, nonprofit AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. By drawing upon the talents, resources, and generosity of the classical, opera, and jazz communities, Classical Action raises funds through private house concerts, special events, and recording and merchandising projects.

BC/EFA is the major supporter of seven programs at the Actors Fund – including the HIV/AIDS Initiative, the Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative, the Al Hirschfeld Free Health Clinic, the Dancers’ Resource, the Stage Managers’ Project, and three supportive housing residences. BC/EFA also awards annual grants to more than 400 AIDS and family service organizations nationwide.

Classical Action became a fundraising program of BC/EFA in 1997. Since its founding, BC/EFA has raised more than $195 million for essential services for people with AIDS and other critical illnesses across the United States.

For more information visit: www.classicalaction.org and www.broadwaycares.org.

Classical Action: 2010-11 Michael Palm Series

Wednesday, April 6

Stephanie Blythe, mezzo-soprano; Warren Jones, piano

New York City

Wine and hors d’oeuvres at 6:30pm

Concert at 7:15pm

Reception with artists follows the concert.

$250 ($175 tax-deductible contribution)

To purchase: www.broadwaycares.org/classicalaction_stephanieblythe2010

Wednesday, May 4

Joyce DiDonato, mezzo-soprano; Jeremy Denk, piano

New York City

Wine and hors d’oeuvres at 6:30pm

Concert at 7:15pm

Reception with artists follows the concert.

$250 ($175 tax-deductible contribution)

To purchase: www.broadwaycares.org/classicalaction_joycedidonato2011

Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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