Barbara Castonguay

She’s gonna let it shine

By - Feb 28th, 2010 08:19 pm

Soprano Adrienne Danrich can really sing.

Soprano Adrienne Danrich.  Photo courtesy of website.

Soprano Adrienne Danrich. Photo courtesy of website.

Danrich wrote This Little Light of Mine (commissioned by the Cincinnati Opera) to tell the stories of Marian Anderson and Leontyne Price through their own recordings, quotes, pictures, and her own interpretations of the arias and spirituals that made them famous. Danrich focuses mostly on the racial barriers that these breached to lead the way for African Americans in this country and in the world of opera.

Classical music aficionados may not learn much new about these revered singers.  Danrich has gone to great lengths to make the show accessible for children and adults who may have never heard of these women or seen an opera. It’s an excellent introduction.

But the show does offer something for the cognoscenti: That voice. Danrich’s spinto soprano is deep, expansive and powerful. She was stunning in arias from Puccini’s Turandot and Madame Butterfly, and she is a skilled interpreter of spirituals. Her  excitement for and commitment to the music is palpable.

The recordings that Danrich chose to marry with the storytelling also comprised of jaw-dropping, world-class stuff.  Anderson’s interpretation of Schubert’s “Erlkonig” was especially arresting.  Her flawless diction and commitment to the portrayal of the four different characters in the piece are among the best you’ll ever hear.  Price’s “Ritorna vincitor” from Aida (if you’ve never had the pleasure of hearing it) is utterly mind-blowing.

These are important women, and Danrich is an important voice.

In addition to her Next Act show, Danrich will offer master classes and outreach programs at UW-Milwaukee, Calvary Baptist Church, Golda Meir School, Messmer High School and Lincoln Center for the Arts Middle School. This Little Light runs from 2/25-3/7 at Next Act in the Off-Broadway Theatre.  Tickets $20.  For more information and showtimes, visit Next Act or call 414-278-0765.

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