Toronto-based soprano Lorna MacDonald impressed as a guest artist on the double bass and piano program that Butler faculty members David Murray and Catherine Bringerud, respectively, presented Oct. 7 at Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall.
MacDonald’s agile, bright, sensitive voice beautifully illuminated the depth of Giovanni Bottesini’s songs for soprano and double bass and Richard Strauss’ song cycle with piano.
She also touched us with the depth of her interpretation of John Kander’s composition to “Letter from Sullivan Ballou,” who died on the Civil War battlefield on July 15th, 1861.
But what brought the packed house to an ovation was her campy showcase as the female half of Eugene Kurtz’s “The Last Contrabass in Las Vegas.” With bassist Murray, MacDonald edged toward the naughty side of flirtation.
MacDonald's resume ranges from appearances at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, to participating in African drumming and singing in Ghana, to creating multidimensional performance programs as a master teacher with the University of Toronto music department.
Murray and Bringerud, who always delight us with their virtuosity on home turf, surrounded MacDonald with just the right accompaniment and shone on their own with Stravinsky’s Suite Italienne, Jay Ungar’s Ashokan Farewell and Bottesini’s Fantaisie Sonnambula.
The program closed with a richly flowing "Night and Day," with the threesome saluting Indiana’s own Cole Porter and Michael Feinstein’s Great American Songbook project.
The free and open to the public Duckwall Artist Series continues every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. through Dec. 2.