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Kyle Berkley, belching an impressive tenor, performs Mozart's "Il mio tesoro" as well as compositions by Robert Owens at a recital in November 2018.

Faculty recital takes audience on vocal tour through the ages

On Sunday, the Ohio University School of Music put on a faculty recital meant to showcase a diversity in vocal ranges and genre.

The recital showcased adjunct professor of voice and tenor Kyle Berkley, mezzo-soprano Alexandra Bruno and pianist Wendy Blackwood. There were 14 songs performed by the artists that ranged from classical opera to popular musical theater. Blackwood played the piano for all 14 songs, while Berkley and Bruno alternated in performing. The performances were held in various languages, including Italian, German, French and English. There were about 30 people in audience, a majority of whom were OU students.

“I think it is a very good idea for our students to see all this diverse repertoire that is in vocal music, in that it gives you an opportunity that we have all this classical arias, and we’ve got musical theater, but in order to be a good singer you should be able to be diverse and do multiple genres of music in order to sell yourself,” Berkley said.

The recital showcased pieces like “Il mio tesoro,” written by W.A. Mozart, and “Cruda Sorte,” written by Gioachino Rossini. There was also repertoire from Robert Owens’ song cycle “Silver Rain”, which showcased a mixing of different composers and styles of music. The pieces flowed in chronological order, according to when they were composed. It gave the entire program a flowing through the ages feel.

Musical theater dominated the set after intermission. Songs from popular musicals such as Little Women and Into the Woods were in the program. The last song, “Lovely” from A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, written by Stephen Sondheim, was performed by both Bruno and Berkley while Blackwood accompanied on piano. 

Berkley said there is a diversity inside vocal music that sometimes gets ignored, and the recital was meant to showcase that through its composers and genres. Robert Owens, for example, is an African-American composer.

“Some of the programing included Robert Owens pieces, which are not standard,” Berkley said. “We are trying to show there’s so much repertoire in vocal music that really open your mind.” 

The School of Music and the College of Fine Arts will be having more faculty recitals throughout the year to showcase diversity in music and musicians.

“As a teacher, I very much try to sing to my students as much as I can,” Berkeley said. “To show them what I’m teaching you, I very much try to do as I said as a performer.” 


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