Saturday February 6th the Columbus Indiana Philharmonic conducted by David Bowden welcomes our guest Grammy award winning soprano Sylvia McNair for an evening titled “Come to the Cabaret.” She talked with WFIU’s George Walker.
This concert catches McNair in the midst of her second career and something she has described as her first love.
“I’m not sure if it’s only my second. But, it is something that’s come after I spent twenty years traipsing around the world singing on opera and recital stages. Now, I did enjoy that and I’m happy for the opportunities that it gave me. However, today I’m focusing more on music that indeed was my first love.”
“I guess I’d have to say that in some ways my idol was always sort of Julie Andrews. And today I do sing some of the songs that she made her own. I’m focusing on American musical theater and popular songs. Those pieces by Rogers and Hammerstein, George and Ira Gershwin, Stephen Sondheim and others are what we now call ‘The American Songbook.’”
When McNair was singing in French, German and Italian one of the hallmarks of her preparation was the focus on the text. She would translate, check the phrases with native speakers and try to make the words her own.
“I teach my students in the Jacobs School of Music to work from the text. And I do it even with songs in English. I still start with the words, learn the poem or the phrases and then come to the music. And I do have to say that one of the joys of singing in English, one of the pleasures that I’ll be enjoying in Columbus this Saturday, is the connection with the audience through the meaning of the common language.”
Come to the Cabaret
Columbus Indiana Philharmonic
Conducted by David Bowden
Sylvia McNair, soprano
Erne Auditorium of Columbus North High School
February 6, 2010 at 7:30 pm