Sunday, March 17, 2019 John Holiday | The Dallas Opera and Nasher Sculpture Center

John Holiday

Holiday Time

Countertenor John Holiday gave a beautiful recital in the Dallas Opera and Nasher Sculpture Center's Sculpting Sounds series.

published Saturday, March 16, 2019

Dallas — The interdisciplinary approach toward art has always yielded great innovations in artistic imagination and understanding. The delicate weaving together of genres and styles breathes new life into the old, ushering in exciting new interpretations of performance practice and creative standards.

In a new partnership between The Dallas Opera and the Nasher Sculpture Center called Sculpting Sounds, these principles operate in great effect as the performing and visual arts come together; the program on March 10 featured a vocal recital inspired by the museum’s special exhibitions, followed by a gallery tour.

Moreover, the featured soloist, Texas-native and acclaimed countertenor John Holiday, demonstrated an adeptness across multiple vocal disciplines that, when married together so seamlessly, worked to convey lovely artistry and a moving narrative.

The first half of Holiday’s program consisted of beautiful French and German art song, centered on a unifying theme of love, longing, and romance. On pieces like “Si Mes Vers Avaient Des Alles (If My Verses Had Wings)” and “À Chloris (For Chloris),” both by composer Reynaldo Hahn, his diction was delicate and sensitive, with lush, long lines that were warm throughout. Holiday’s countertenor is sweet and expressive, with a natural affinity for the French style. The German was treated with equal care and expression, but with what felt like an extra layer of verve. Beethoven’s idyllic “Der Kuss (The Kiss)” whistled with charm as the fullness of Holiday’s brightness gave movement and drive to each animated crescendo. Holiday also displayed his virtuosic prowess on “Adelaide,” also by Beethoven. The piece was active and athletic in its diverse colors and tempi, and Holiday’s countertenor offered a unique interpretation that was at once warm and light.

The second half of his program was characterized by selections from H. Leslie Adams’ song cycle Nightsongs, which features the musical setting of poetry from African-American poets. Here, Holiday’s technique was dripping with ethos. The movements moved through wrenching lamentations to moments of reverent introspection. Adam’s compositions draw on familiar tonalities that harken to old Negro spirituals, which lead effectively into his final set of jazz inspired selections.

No comments: