Sunday, February 26, 2012 Adrienne Danrich sings 'art songs by...Margaret Bonds, and...William Grant Still' in Milwaukee

[Adrienne Danrich]

Soprano Adrienne Danrich recently performed in the Vocal Arts Series of the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. Margaret A. Bonds and William Grant Still are profiled at, which features a comprehensive Works List for each composer by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma,
February 26th, 2012
By Tom Strini

An echo of not only the sounds but also the excitement of the Harlem Renaissance electrified the Peck School of the Arts Recital Hall Saturday.

“Adrienne Danrich, a world-class soprano with blues in her soul, put on her Evening in the Harlem Renaissance on UWM’s Vocal Arts Series. I talked with Danrich Thursday, but didn’t realize the scope of her show until I experienced it. She brought along Will Johnson, a spectacular bass-baritone with international credits, to give a spine-tingling account of Old Man River, among other numbers.”

Danrich, who wrote this show, shines as its sun, and not just because of her gorgeous singing. Her passion for that admirable group of black Harlem artists and intellectuals, some famous and some forgotten, came through in her body language and in every word and note. She read the poetry of Langston Hughes, whose work is at the heart of her show, as brilliantly as she sang them. She wrote a punchy, efficient script; she gives us the facts of Harlem life quickly.” “Danrich made clear the great achievement of a small group who set out, in the 1920s and 1930s, to create an African-American high art with techniques borrowed from Europe but an essence rooted in black experience and tradition.”

“And brother, can Adrienne Danrich sing. Her richness and clarity, her seamless tonal quality throughout the range, her deft articulation and emotional commitment to the sentiments of the music dazzled at every turn. She brought out the big, operatic guns for Alexander von Zemlinsky’s setting of Hughes’ Misery (Zemlinsky! Who knew?), art songs by the nearly forgotten but compelling Margaret Bonds, and the still-current William Grant Still. She hit her operatic peak in My Man’s Gone Now, from Porgy and Bess. You can’t have a champagne reception for this singer; that voice would break all the glasses.”

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