Spanish Song Project: Songs of Mexico, Spain and Central and South America 

Four stars
University of Indianapolis' Christel DeHaan Fine Arts Center; Sept. 18

What an evening of zest, fire and passion! While there isn’t room to mention everything from the evening, one of the most memorable was audience favorite Marko Petricic, who dazzled us with his bayan skills on Isaac Albeniz’s Asturias. UIndy’s own faculty/composer John Berners set three delightfully surprising and quirky love songs by Sandra Cisneros to music, for soprano and piano. Berners’ music brought the qualities of the text out marvelously. Add to that soprano Kathleen Hacker (whose voice seems made for new music) and pianist Amy Eggleston, who is one of the best ensemble players I’ve heard, and you have a superb performance. Gabriel Lena Frank’s Songs of Cifar and the Sweet Sea closed out the show on an even higher note. Here was storytelling at a new level; between Frank’s ability to put every detail of a story into music, baritone Robert Gardner’s dramatic and commanding voice and Amy Eggleston’s precision at the piano, it was impossible to go wrong. We are fortunate to hear more of Frank’s work later this season, as the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra has commissioned work from her, to be performed in February. 

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