Mezzo-Soprano Mariya Kaganskaya's graduate recital was truly an event not to be missed. Ms. Kaganskaya performed Gypsy Dances, accompanied by pianist Steven Bailey. And even if you didn't miss it, if you showed up right on time, you would have ended up sitting in the lobby and watching it off a TV screen.
There were too many people and eventually the seats ran out and people began standing, squatting, or just sitting on the floor. I myself showed up right on time and was confronted with an issue of not being let it! I saw a few people going up to the balcony, so I followed. There were no seats up their either and already there were people who were sitting on the floor by the chairs.
Zigeunerlieder, op 103 by Johannes Brahms was the first music cycle to be performed. This song cycle was actually written by Brahms for four singers and piano. It could also be performed by a choir, and the text the music is set to are Hungarian folk songs in German. First, Brahms wrote the first eleven pieces for he cycle. These eleven pieces formed a story and were called the Ziguerenerlieder. Later, Brahms wrote four more which had no connection to the Ziguenerlieder, but were published as part of the cycle anyways. Performing selections from the song cycle, Ms. Kaganskaya demonstrated her technique and musicality. This was a good opening to the evening.
Cigánske Melódie by Antonin Dvorák were sung with characteristics of the Romantic Period. Ms. Kaganskaya's ability to elongate her musical sentences with beauty really helped the listener perceive the music with pleasure.
Will You, Won't You? by Elinor Armer was nice relief of contemporary music. This song cycle was acted out very well in addition to being sung beautifully.
Two Russian Gypsy Songs, arranged by Alla Gladysheva, was performed with two guitarists, Alan Lopez Orozco and Tatiana Senderowicz. Two Guitars and Dark Eyes were performed by Ms. Kaganskaya with lots of lust and passion, as the Gypsy songs call for. Two Guitars, essentially about a love serenade performed with two guitars. The woman serenaded recognizes who is serenading her by the melody she has heard since her childhood. Dark Eyes is about a pair of dark eyes that attract, and yet frighten the one who is in love with them. If only I had never met you, dark eyes, I would never suffer so much.
Ms. Kaganskaya chose an excellent way to finish off the evening with L'Amour Est Un Oiseau Rebelle from Georges Bizet's opera Carmen, transferring the Gypsy love mood from the Russian Gypsy songs to the French Gypsy song. I caught myself thinking, there is no way Don Jose would resist THIS Carmen. Apparently, the audience thought the same as they bursted into wild applauding when Ms. Kaganskaya effectively threw her rose, as if to seal her conquest. For Carmen - over Don Jose, and for wonderful mezzo-soprano Mariya Kaganskaya over her graduate recital's listeners.