“Britten illuminated, thanks to Lyric Fest” says reviewer

David Patrick Stearns, Inquirer Classical Music Critic, wrote a review of our Biography in Music – Benjamin Britten concert in today’s philly.com. Here are some excerpts; please do follow the link above to read the whole thing.

As Benjamin Britten’s 2013 centennial year loomed, Lyric Fest was all but sure to build a concert around it. … On Sunday at the Academy of Vocal Arts, a trio of singers plus actor Jim Bergwall made a cradle-to-the-grave traversal of the composer’s life. …

Singing on Sunday was mostly excellent, the sequencing of music and letters was brilliant, and the overall emotional impact – ending with a sing-along “God Moves in Mysterious Ways” from Britten’s cantata St. Nicolas – was overwhelming.

The priority was to create a through line with music that both illustrated and commented upon each particular stage in Britten’s life. …

Amazingly, pianist and Lyric Fest artistic director Laura Ward made piano reductions work in ways that distilled rather than reduced ideas. …

Each of the young singers – soprano Kelly Ann Bixby, tenor William Ferguson, and baritone Jarrett Ott – had many interpretive virtues. … literacy, intelligence, and overall commitment they brought to their performances. Wherever their careers take them, they have the satisfaction of knowing their concert on a freezing late-fall afternoon forever changed and enriched one’s perception of one of the 20th century’s greatest musical partnerships.

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