Of all the many languages I have studied and sung over the years, French remains my first love. So when it came time to plan this recital, I called on my good friend and colleague, Celeste Rue, who shares my passion for French music. As we searched for the ideal songs for our program, we rediscovered old favorites and discovered others that were new to both of us.
We were fortunate to secure a wonderful venue for the recital~~the sanctuary of Baker Memorial United Methodist Church~~a landmark building whose stained glass windows and wood-beamed ceilings helped convey the romanticism of the music.
As the poet deMarsan writes in the song "Si tu le veux" ~~ "If you wish it, oh my love . . . I shall sing you a song of love, which I shall fill with all my joy"~~ we hope that you might experience the love and joy brought to this live performance.
Soprano, Marilyn DeStefano, a Chicago native, has been a member of the Lyric Opera of Chicago Chorus as well as the Lyric Opera Center for American Artists. Her solo debut with the company came in 1985 as the Virgin in Handel's Samson which starred Jon Vickers and June Anderson. She also appeared in the world premiere of Penderecki's Paradise Lost at Lyric Opera of Chicago as well as the European premiere at La Scala, Milan. The Chicago Opera Players heard her as the First Lady in Mozart's Die Zauberflote and her debut role for Hinsdale Opera Theatre was Lucy in Menotti's The Telephone.
Ms. DeStefano's concert credits include performances as the soprano soloist in Bach's Christmas Oratorio, Schubert's Mass in G, Mendelssohn's Psalm 95, Mozart's Requiem as well as John Rutters' Gloria and Requiem with Chicago area organizations. She has made several appearances at the Valparaiso Opera House as well as with the Fox Valley Concert Band. Ms. DeStefano appears on video in Eugene Onegin with the Lyric Opera of Chicago as well as audio recordings of Gorecki's Miserere and her own recently released Lullaby Sweets, a recording of classic lullabies.
Celeste Rue is one of the most sought after coach/accompanists in the Chicago area. She has been staff pianist for the Grant Park Symphony Chorus and DuPage Opera Theatre as well as Assistant Music Director of the Opera Factory. She has also worked with the Chicago Symphony Chorus, Chicago Opera Theatre, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Music of the Baroque, Light Opera Works, the Ravinia Music Festival and has also performed as pianist on the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's Pre-concert Series.
Ms. Rue attended the Centre International de Formation musicale in Nice, France where she studied piano/vocal repertoire with Dalton Baldwin. Most recently, she acted as artistic producer of "Songs from the Garden", a recording of art songs performed by Maria Lagios and pianist Dalton Baldwin, and was artist consultant and pianist for the video "Mary Cassatt, Modern Woman" which was produced in conjunction with national exhibits of her works. Ms. Rue also appears on the recently released "Lullaby Sweets", a recording of lullabies performed by Marilyn DeStefano.
1. Reve d'amour (Gabriel Faure)
2. Mandoline (Gabriel Faure)
3. Au bord de l'eau (Gabriel Faure)
4. Mandoline (Claude Debussy)
5. Clair de lune (Claude Debussy)
6. Apparition (Claude Debussy)
7. Clair de lune (Joseph Szulc)
8. Ah! je veux vivre (Charles Gounod)
9. Si tu le veux (Charles Koechlin)
10. Le The (Charles Koechlin)
11. Pourquoi (Olivier Messiaen)
12. Le sourire (Olivier Messiaen)
13. La fiancee perdue (Olivier Messiaen)
14. Phidyle (Henri Duparc)
15. Le manoir de Rosamonde (Henri Duparc)
16. Le reveil de la Mariee (Maurice Ravel)
17. La-bas, ver l'eglise (Maurice Ravel)
18. Quel galant n'est comparable (Maurice Ravel)
19. Chanson des cueilleuses de lentisques (Maurice Ravel)
20. Tout gai! (Maurice Ravel)