Boston Globe: Dawn Upshaw "One of the Most Significant, Dramatically Moving Singers" Today

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Dawn Upshaw was in Boston yesterday for a performance with pianist Gilbert Kalish at Jordan Hall of works by a wide variety of composers, from Ravel to Golijov. Upshaw, with her ability to transform whatever she chooses to perform "into a soul-rattling artistic experience," is the subject of an extensive feature profile in the Boston Globe that describes her as "one of the most significant and dramatically moving singers before the public today ... Upshaw's rare gift as a performer is an ability to inhabit a work on the most profound levels, to live the music on stage rather than sing it at you."

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Dawn Upshaw was in Boston yesterday for a performance with her longtime collaborator, pianist Gilbert Kalish, at the New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall. On the eclectic program were works by Ives, Fauré, Debussy, Ravel, Messiaen, Golijov, and Bolcom, as well as Michael Ward-Bergeman's Treny (Laments), with the composer joining on hyper-accordion, an instrument of his own design. The musical diversity on Sunday's program is just one example of the broad range of musics to which Upshaw has dedicated her career. That, from a singer known for her ability to transform whatever she performs "into a soul-rattling artistic experience" is the subject of an extensive feature profile in the Boston Globe by staff writer Jeremy Eichler.

Eichler describes Upshaw as "one of the most significant and dramatically moving singers before the public today," and, what's more, "right now she is unmistakably in her prime." He continues:

Her voice has a pure-toned radiance and earthen warmth, a certain empathic timbre, and often a palpable undertow of yearning. Of course, the classical music world has many singers with magical voices, but Upshaw's rare gift as a performer is an ability to inhabit a work on the most profound levels, to live the music on stage rather than sing it at you. At the end of a strong Upshaw performance, one feels not dazzled by a glittering operatic star, but rather swept into the world of a fellow life-traveler.

The writer goes on to suggests that, rather than rest on her laurels or play things safe with a more traditional repertoire, as others might, "Upshaw has become a restless searcher, abandoning safer career tracks in favor of a quest for meaningful collaborations with kindred spirits." In that vein, she "often focuses on the works of living composers as varied as [György] Kurtág, John Adams, Kaija Saariaho, John Harbison, and Osvaldo Golijov." Even so, Eichler says, Upshaw "has avoided being tagged as a specialist or being consigned to a new-music niche, surely because her performances of contemporary scores so often find the expressive core within complex modern languages, enabling a challenging work to speak far beyond the usual circle of connoisseurs."

There's much more in the complete article at boston.com.

---

Upshaw's interest in the works of the aforementioned composers can be heard on her upcoming tour dates, in two UK performances of Golijov's Ayre with the Andalucian Dogs (an ensemble founded by the composer) and the Brodsky Quartet scheduled for later this month; his Ainadamar with the Cincinnati Opera in July; and Saariaho's La Passion de Simone at the Opéra de la Bastille in Paris in between. For more tour information, visit nonesuch.com/on-tour.

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Dawn Upshaw by Dario Acosta 2
  • Monday, May 4, 2009
    Boston Globe: Dawn Upshaw "One of the Most Significant, Dramatically Moving Singers" Today
    Dario Acosta

    Dawn Upshaw was in Boston yesterday for a performance with her longtime collaborator, pianist Gilbert Kalish, at the New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall. On the eclectic program were works by Ives, Fauré, Debussy, Ravel, Messiaen, Golijov, and Bolcom, as well as Michael Ward-Bergeman's Treny (Laments), with the composer joining on hyper-accordion, an instrument of his own design. The musical diversity on Sunday's program is just one example of the broad range of musics to which Upshaw has dedicated her career. That, from a singer known for her ability to transform whatever she performs "into a soul-rattling artistic experience" is the subject of an extensive feature profile in the Boston Globe by staff writer Jeremy Eichler.

    Eichler describes Upshaw as "one of the most significant and dramatically moving singers before the public today," and, what's more, "right now she is unmistakably in her prime." He continues:

    Her voice has a pure-toned radiance and earthen warmth, a certain empathic timbre, and often a palpable undertow of yearning. Of course, the classical music world has many singers with magical voices, but Upshaw's rare gift as a performer is an ability to inhabit a work on the most profound levels, to live the music on stage rather than sing it at you. At the end of a strong Upshaw performance, one feels not dazzled by a glittering operatic star, but rather swept into the world of a fellow life-traveler.

    The writer goes on to suggests that, rather than rest on her laurels or play things safe with a more traditional repertoire, as others might, "Upshaw has become a restless searcher, abandoning safer career tracks in favor of a quest for meaningful collaborations with kindred spirits." In that vein, she "often focuses on the works of living composers as varied as [György] Kurtág, John Adams, Kaija Saariaho, John Harbison, and Osvaldo Golijov." Even so, Eichler says, Upshaw "has avoided being tagged as a specialist or being consigned to a new-music niche, surely because her performances of contemporary scores so often find the expressive core within complex modern languages, enabling a challenging work to speak far beyond the usual circle of connoisseurs."

    There's much more in the complete article at boston.com.

    ---

    Upshaw's interest in the works of the aforementioned composers can be heard on her upcoming tour dates, in two UK performances of Golijov's Ayre with the Andalucian Dogs (an ensemble founded by the composer) and the Brodsky Quartet scheduled for later this month; his Ainadamar with the Cincinnati Opera in July; and Saariaho's La Passion de Simone at the Opéra de la Bastille in Paris in between. For more tour information, visit nonesuch.com/on-tour.

    Journal Articles:Artist News

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