February 22, 2015

Sunday at 3:00pm

The Sounds of Cole Porter
Tickets $35

Program

Overture A
I Get a Kick out of You
You’re the Top
All Through the Night
Blow, Gabriel, Blow (arr. Bennett)
Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall in Love
Well, Did You Evah!
Friendship
Can Can
I Love Paris (arr.Lang)
Hey, Babe, Hey!
All of You
Be a Clown
Begin the Beguine
Overture B
So In Love
Were Thine That Special Face
Wunderbar
Where Is the Life That Late I Led?
Another Op’nin’, Another Show
Night and Day (arr. Bennett)

Today’s concert is sponsored by Addie Blake.

TINA MILHORN STALLARD, soprano

Active as a concert artist, soprano Tina Milhorn Stallard has performed solos in works such as Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem, Haydn’s The Creation, Bach’s St. John Passion, Poulenc’s Gloria, and Handel’s Messiah. In June 2011 she made her Lincoln Center debut as soprano soloist in Timothy Powell’s Incarnation Mysteria. As part of the cultural prelude to the 2008 Summer Olympics, Ms. Stallard performed the soprano solos in Vivaldi’s Gloria with the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra and members of the Beijing National Ballet Orchestra. She has also performed with the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra, Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra, Johnson City Symphony, Louisville Orchestra, South Carolina Philharmonic Orchestra, Bowling Green Western Symphony, and the University of Arkansas Orchestra.

A frequent recitalist, Ms. Stallard has presented programs in Bulgaria, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, New York, Indiana, Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, and throughout South Carolina. She premiered Lori Laitman’s song cycle The Perfected Life at the 2008 College Music Society National Conference. Later that year, she premiered Songs of Time and Tide,a cycle of songs written for her by composer John Fitz Rogers. Ms. Stallard may be heard singing the role of Principal in the recording of Robert Bradshaw’s new opera .Gabriel (Beauport Classical). Other opera credits include roles in Così fan tutte, Die Fledermaus, Little Women, Hansel and Gretel, The Crucible,and the Italian premiere of Casanova’s Homecoming. She has sung with Opera Omaha, Central City Opera, Opera Theatre of Lucca (Italy), Cincinnati Opera, Kentucky Opera, and the Palmetto Opera.

Ms. Stallard won the Annemarie Gertz Prize in the national finals of the Artist Award Auditions of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, was district winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, semi-finalist of the Eleanor McCollum Competition sponsored by Houston Grand Opera, and winner of the Grace Moore Vocal Competition. She holds the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and is an alumnus of the University of Kentucky (Haggin Fellow) and Belmont University (Presser Scholar). A student of master teachers Barbara Honn and Stephen King, she is also associate professor of voice at the University of South Carolina, where she teaches applied voice and vocal pedagogy.

 

WALTER CUTTINO, Tenor

Walter Cuttino earned his Bachelor of Music degree in voice from the University of South Carolina and both his Master of Music degree in voice and his Artist Diploma in opera from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music as the Corbett Scholarship Winner. Upon completing his education, Mr. Cuttino performed throughout Europe, amassing over one thousand operatic performances to his credit. Ferrando (Così fan tutte), Almaviva (Barber of Seville), Tamino (The Magic Flute), Lenski (Eugene Onegin), Alfredo (La traviata), and Rodolfo (La bohéme) are a sampling of the more than forty roles in his repertoire. He has also performed over five hundred concerts, including a concert tour with the late Leonard Bernstein to London and Moscow.

Since the fall of 1996 Mr. Cuttino has been a member of the voice faculty (which he now chairs) at the University of South Carolina, where he performs regularly. In addition, he continues to perform on American and European stages. He is also artistic director of the Palmetto Opera, conductor of the Palmetto Mastersingers, and director of music at Lake Murray Presbyterian Church.

 

JACOB WILL, BASS-BARITONE

Jacob Will made his New York Philharmonic debut as bass soloist in the American premiere of the Messa per Rossini, a performance televised live nationwide. An experienced concert artist, Mr. Will has been featured with orchestras throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia. He has appeared with the Sinfonica de Madrid under the baton of Frühbeck de Burgos, the Berlin Radio Symphony with Vladamir Ashkenázy, and the Cabrillo Festival with Denis Russell Davies. His other engagements of note have included appearances with the San Francisco Symphony in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, the International Bach Festival of Schaffhausen (Switzerland) in the St.John Passion, the Vienna Symphonic Orchestra in Frank Martin’s Le Mystère de la Nativité, and the Tokyo Salzburg Festival in the Mozart Requiem. He has also recorded Cherubini’s Messe solennelle and Zemlinsky’s Kleider machen Leute.

Equally at home on stage, Mr. Will has performed frequently with the Zürich Opera, interpreting roles such as Giorgio in I Puritani, Mustafa in L’Italiana in Algeri, and Colline in La bohème. He has also been seen as Oroveso in Norma with the Vancouver Opera, the title role in Le nozze di Figaro with New York City Opera, the First Nazarene in Salome with Gran Teatre del Liceu, Masetto in Don Giovanni with San Francisco Opera, and Samuel in Un allo in Maschera with the Bavarian Staatsoper. Mr. Will participated in the Merola and Adler Fellowship Programs of the San Francisco Opera and has been a prizewinner in various international singing competitions, including the Munich Competition and the Queen Elisabeth Competition of Brussels.

 

JANET HOPKINS, MEZZO SOPRANO

 New York Metropolitan Opera mezzo-soprano Janet Hopkins has won world wide critical
acclaim for her wide-ranging operatic and concert repertoire. A veteran of The Met for over
16 years, she has performed in a broad variety of operas, including The Barber of Seville, Die
Walkure, Der Rosenkavalier, Cavalleria Rusticana, and Rigoletto. Miss Hopkins has toured
extensively with The Metropolitan Opera, performing many times in Europe and Japan, as well
as throughout the United States. She is a Carnegie Hall favorite as a featured soloist.

Diva Janet Hopkins revolutionized the wine and music worlds with her introduction of ARIA
in November of 2007. ARIA, a first-of-its-kind music and fine wine project, garnered rave
reviews from The New York Times and USA Today. Miss Hopkins personally blended her
own red wine. She recorded a CD of well known Italian love songs at historic Capitol Records
in Hollywood. The limited edition set known as ARIA was an immediate hit and sold out in 2

Miss Hopkins holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Education, cum laude, and a Masters
Degree in Vocal Performance, cum laude. www.JanetEHopkins.com, www.Twitter.com/TheMetDiva

 

Anything Goes: The Sounds of Cole Porter

Born in Peru, Indiana, June 9, 1891; died in Santa Monica, California, October 15, 1964

The Songwriter

Born into a wealthy Midwestern family, Cole Porter studied violin and piano as a child at the insistence of his mother Kate, an amateur pianist and singer who dreamed he might become the professional musician she never had. Violin was a struggle, but he loved the piano, which he didn’t have to tune and on which could so easily produce the harmonies that captivated him. Kate’s father, J. O. Cole, who continued to support the family beyond what her drugstore-owning husband earned, disapproved of all artistic endeavors for men. Planning for the boy to manage the family’s real estate holdings one day, his grandfather wanted him to be “unsissified” at a military academy or attend business school. Kate won her battle, however, to send him to the Worcester Academy in preparation for an Ivy League college.

Cole had been composing witty songs since he was eight years old, but it was at Worcester that he learned how much charm they could exert on adults, and how he could win over the boys his age with the risqué lyrics that would become his trademark. Chosen valedictorian, he earned his grandfather’s support for a six-week sojourn in Paris, a city that would always lure him. For most of his life—until he became a recluse—he would continue to indulge his passion for travel, and he would maintain multiple residences in various locales, among them New York, Paris, Venice, the Berkshires, and Hollywood..

Porter duly attended Yale, where he nearly flunked out owing to his myriad activities—singer-pianist-conductor with the Yale Glee Club, member of the Whiffenpoofs (an a cappella singing group), composer of shows for the Yale Dramatic Association, and writer of college songs, many of which are sung at Yale to this day. He wrote songs about everyone he knew or wanted to win favor with, hobnobbed with students from “old wealth,” and he began getting songs published. He always gave the impression that he was above hard work, though in truth he was highly industrious. Yale saved this favored son by granting some credit for his non-academic pursuits, and—astonishingly—he was accepted to Harvard Law School. There he continued his pattern of writing songs and putting on shows. Fortunately for him and maybe for the law school’s reputation, the dean, whom he had impressed at parties, got him transferred into the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences—a secret he and his mother kept from his grandfather for a year. Even so he registered for only two simple courses.

Broadway and Hollywood

Shows and movies containing today’s selections are given in bold,

as are the selections themselves.

In 1915, his first year at Harvard, Porter had two of his songs performed in Broadway shows, and his own “patriotic comic opera,” See America First, made it to the Broadway stage the following year. Though these shows failed miserably, Porter had the satisfaction of having many of the operetta’s numbers published by the prestigious G. Schirmer firm and its best song made into a commercial recording. At last his grandfather accepted the fact that he would pursue a musical career and set up an allowance—minimal—but also a trust, which ensured him a huge income after he died.

Porter spent the first months of World War I in Paris helping distribute relief supplies in France, but mainly he lived a charmed social life flitting between Paris and London, his claims of wartime deeds notwithstanding. He met the wealthy, beautiful, divorced socialite Linda Lee Thomas, with whom he shared a taste for all things cultured and luxurious. They married in 1919, despite his grandfather’s protestations that he couldn’t support a wife, and until her death in 1954 she remained his confidante, promoter, and platonic love (she accepted his gay liaisons)—she was the other strong female force in his life besides his mother.

After briefly making one more attempt at classical music studies at Paris’s Schola Cantorum, he continued to perform his songs among society friends and wrote some of the first symphonic jazz in 1923—a ballet Within the Past, performed in Paris and New York. But Broadway success eluded him until the late 1920s when he won over critics and audiences with the shows Paris and Fifty Million Frenchman, which helped save producer Ray Goetz during the Depression when other theaters had to fold. Porter also achieved success in London in 1929 with Wake Up and Dream and his 1930 revue The New Yorkers. Only a hit could survive in 1932, and Porter produced one of his greatest with Gay Divorce, Fred Astaire’s last stage show, which two years later was made into a blockbuster Hollywood film (The Gay Divorcee) starring Astaire and Ginger Rodgers.

Porter’s next big hit, Anything Goes (1934), was launched by Vinton Freedley sheerly on reputation because the Broadway producer had gone deep into debt. Even before the show was written he hired huge stars—Ethel Merman, William Gaxton, Bettina Hall, and Victor Moore—then brought in P. G. Wodehouse and Guy Bolton, authors of his last hit Oh, Kay, and finally Porter, when Rodgers and Hart and the Gershwins were busy. At the last minute, with no possibility of postponement, Freedley decided the script had to be rewritten with more comedic flair. Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse worked around the clock, jumpstarted at one point by Porter’s quickly composed “Hymn to the Public Enemy” when they were stumped on how to begin the second act. Miraculously, Anything Goes was a huge success with audiences and critics alike, and continues to be one of Porter’s two most performed shows on account of its plethora of famous numbers.

Porter and his wife continued to live the high life, traveling and entertaining lavishly. His next two Broadway musicals, Jubilee (1935) and Red, Hot, and Blue (1936), met with an indifferent response, but by now he was considered the image of success. Also in demand in Hollywood, he composed music for several films, notably Born to Dance (1936) and Rosalie (1937).

In 1937 Porter’s leg were crushed in a riding accident on Long Island, leaving him with chronic pain for the remainder of his life and launching a series of over thirty operations. Five of his next shows, however, were hits and were also made into films—DuBarry Was a Lady (1939), Panama Hattie, Let’s Face It!, Something for the Boys, and Mexican Hayride (1944). He also reaped some success with his scores for two Fred Astaire movies Broadway Melody of 1940 and Something to Shout About (1943), and for The Pirate (1948), starring Gene Kelly and Judy Garland. Nevertheless, his number of hit songs was diminishing, and with two Broadway failures, Seven Lively Arts and Around the World, critics wondered if his best days were over.

Then in 1948 came his masterpiece, Kiss Me, Kate, with a libretto by Bella and Sam Spewack based on Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. The story, a play within a play, involves the conflicts on and off stage between Fred Graham, the show’s director and star, and his ex-wife Lilli Vanessi, who plays his leading lady. This was a departure for Porter in that he wrote songs that were closely integrated into the story as opposed to his previous song-and-dance musicals. He deftly wove between the songs the characters sing in their stage production and those related to the show biz backstage. Porter won the coveted Tony Award for Best Score, his first, and the show beat out South Pacific for Best Musical. An amazing number of gems poured from his pen for Kiss Me, Kate, many of which maintain their popular status to this day. Their popularity was further cemented by the film version starring Kathryn Grayson and Howard Keel in 1953.            Among Porter’s later stage musicals, only Can Can (1953), starring a young Gwen Verdon, achieved some success. The 1960 film version starred Juliet Prowse, making her debut, and Shirley MacLaine, Frank Sinatra, Louis Jourdan, and Maurice Chevalier. Porter’s music for Silk Stockings (1955) received praise, though dramatically the show was considered heavy-handed. The movie adaption two years later starred Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse, winning Golden Globe Awards for Best Film and Best Actress. Porter also won acclaim for the songs he wrote for High Society (1956), a remake of The Philadelphia Story as a musical comedy with Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, and Frank Sinatra.

Despite his successes, however, Porter had been begun taking to heart the criticisms begun in the ’40s that his best work was behind him—he even began saying Kiss Me, Kate had been a fluke. His depression, compounded by constant pain and the deaths of his mother and his wife, deepened in 1958 with the amputation of his right leg. From then until his death in 1964 he lived as a recluse, alternating between his homes in the Berkshires and Hollywood, visited by only a few friends, and never composing or playing the piano. Only the favored few saw glimpses of that famous lively wit that had imparted the sunniest legacy imaginable, full of double entendres, clever internal rhymes, and remarkably sophisticated uses of melody, rhythm and harmony.

The Songs

This afternoon’s selections begin with an overture that includes “Ridin’ High,” with its catchy short phrases, originally introduced by Ethel Merman in Red, Hot, and Blue, followed by “Love for Sale” (The New Yorkers), one of Porter’s early and most risqué songs, which was originally banned from the airwaves and cause of certain story adjustments. The medley concludes with “Anything Goes,” the exuberant title song of his great 1934 success, nicely setting up the following group of other hits from the show:

The bubbly “I Get a Kick out of You” is notorious for its extended internal rhyme—“Flying too high with some guy in the sky in my idea of nothing to do”—and its daring mention of sniffing cocaine; “You’re the Top” is one of Porter’s most popular “list songs”; and “All Through the Night” is known for its sultry chromatic descent and suggestion of lovers sleeping together. This group concludes with “Blow, Gabriel, Blow,” which Porter had already written before the script revision, so Merman’s night-club hostess character had to be made a former evangelist to accommodate this song.

From Paris, Porter’s first Broadway success, the catchy “Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall in Love” was his first “list song,” introduced by the celebrated Irene Bordoni, wife of the show’s producer, Ray Goetz. The lively party-gossip song “Well, Did You Evah!” (DuBarry Was a Lady), despite its banter, gives a hint of the explosion that was to be WWII. Introduced on Broadway by Betty Grable and Charles Walters, the song was famously sung by Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra in the 1956 movie High Society. In another highlight from DuBarry Was a Lady, “Friendship” is what Louie (played by Bert Lahr) must settle for with May (Ethel Merman) after dreaming he is the King of France and she Madame DuBarry.

The lively dance number “Can Can” comes from the show of the same name in which the judge who investigates scandalous dancing at a Montmartre café ends up legalizing the dance and marrying the café’s owner. The show’s biggest hit was the haunting “I Love Paris,” sung on a starlit rooftop. In the film Born to Dance, Jimmy Stewart and his fellow sailors invite Eleanor Powell and the other girls at the Lonely Hearts Club to dance in the waltz-like “Hey, Babe, Hey!”

“All of You” with its ingenious and original rhymes was the hit of Silk Stockings, sung by Don Ameche as a talent agent. The rollicking “Be a Clown” originated in the film The Pirate, sung and danced by Judy Garland and Gene Kelly. Its success spawned the closely related “Make ‘Em Laugh” by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed as a number for Donald O’Connor in Singin’ in the Rain. Though Jubilee was a flop, it contains some of Porter’s most suggestive and famous songs, such as “Begin the Beguine,” inspired, he said, by the fast rumba-like dance he had encountered years earlier in a Paris nightclub and a snatch of melody from a native dance he heard in Kalabahi. The song became famous with Artie Shaw’s rendition in 1939.

Our second-half overture begins with Porter’s greatest hit from Red, Hot, and Blue, “It’s De-Lovely,” first sung by Ethel Merman and Bob Hope on Broadway and since often injected into Anything Goes. Porter himself gave two differing versions of the title’s origin, both of which involve himself and two others chiming in with the three signature phrases, but in each scenario “It’s de-lovely!” was uttered by his lifelong society friend since Yale days, Monty Woolley. The overture continues with the love songs “I Love You” (Mexican Hayride) and “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To” (Something to Shout About), and concludes with what has become a show biz anthem, “Another Op’nin’, Another Show” (Kiss Me, Kate), which the cast sings as they prepare for the that evening’s performance.

Other of this afternoon’s many Kiss Me, Kate hits include the wistful “So In Love,” in which leading lady Lilli confesses she still loves her leading man Fred, her ex-husband, after receiving flowers from him, and “Were Thine That Special Face,” which Petruchio (Fred) sings to woo Katharine (Lilli) in their play within a play. In the waltz-like “Wunderbar” Fred and Lilli reminisce fondly about their meeting in an operetta in Vienna. As things go awry for Pertruchio in the play, he wishes for the women in his past—“Where Is the Life That Late I Led?” and the set ends with a full rendition of “Another Op’nin’, Another Show.”

Our Porter tribute would not be complete without his signature song, “Night and Day” (Gay Divorce). Whether the number was inspired by an Islamic call to worship heard in Morocco, as he claimed, or by the Moorish architecture of the Cleveland Heights Alcatraz Hotel, as some have suggested, the song became so associated with Porter that it was used as the title for the 1946 film of his (largely fabricated) life story. Written in a more extended form than many of the time’s popular songs, “Night and Day” was also daring in its melody, whose insistent repeated notes gave Porter a perfect canvas for his fluid harmonies. Porter wrote the song especially for Astaire’s vocal timbre and range—and so he could sing it even as an out-of-breath dancer—but Astaire was initially reluctant to sing it. Porter often made changes at singers’ requests, but in this case he stood firm because he believed in the song, and in the end it only boosted Astaire’s renown.

—©Jane Vial Jaffe