Our School of Music is famous for its voice faculty, counting among them luminaries such as baritone Paul Rowe (an organizer of Madison’s nationally-known Early Music Festival); soprano Mimmi Fulmer (former teacher of Broadway star National Stampley); soprano Julia Faulkner (now on leave to Chicago’s Lyric Opera and replaced by Elizabeth Hagedorn, recently returned from many roles in Europe); and James Doing, a tenor who three years ago made a splash with a recital of “Teaching Songs for the Voice Studio,” a recital of songs that Doing assigns to his college students to sing, which taught those in the audience what it is like to be a voice student and would-be students what to expect in Doing’s studio. It also educated listeners about the classical and modern canon in the vocal repertoire.
Local writer Jacob Stockinger has this to say about Doing’s 2010 recital: ”It educated the audience. It was kind of like sitting in on Art Song 101. It let us listeners into the studio and allowed us to hear what makes for good repertoire, a good program and a good lesson. It was also great to see a professor sharing the recital stage with his students. To be sure, each will continue, and should continue, to perform his or her own individual solo recitals. But Doing is primarily an opera and oratorio singer so he was much like the students when it came to these first public performances of art songs.
“But sharing the stage lends credibility to the teaching process. It projects a certain solidarity and cohesion. It also projects cordiality, which is no small thing, even as we see different singing and performing styles. (Doing himself, to my ears, excelled especially in the songs by Italian, English and German Baroque composers such as Caccini, Conti, Purcell and Handel, and with French composers such as Ravel, Debussy, Faure and an exquisite song by Reynaldo Hahn.) And the results were highly successful — both enjoyable and instructive, the twin ideals of the Age of Enlightenment.”
This Saturday, October 19, at 8 pm in Mills Hall, Professor Doing will present another in what will not only be a series of “Teaching Favorites,” but will be a step toward a book on the same subject. He will be joined by Professor Martha Fischer on piano and student singers CatieLeigh Laszewski, Jenny Marsland, Olivia Pogodzinski, Melanie Traeger, and Sheila Wilhelmi. Songs will include Strike the Viol (Henry Purcell) from Come, ye Sons of Art; Và godendo (G.F. Handel from Serse, Melanie Traeger, soprano); and Mozart’s Giùnse alfin il momento . . . Deh vieni, non tardar (from Le Nozze di Figaro, CatieLeigh Laszewski, soprano). And many more.
Here, Prof. Doing explains the concept behind the next concert.
“Three years ago I presented a Teaching Favorites for the Voice Studio recital complete with program notes about vocal technique, diction, and so on, and it was well received.
“On Saturday, October 19th at 8:00 my students and I are going to be singing another Teaching Favorites for the Voice Studio in Mills Hall (free admission) and I would love to have many singers and teachers from the community come and share the evening with me and my students. I’ll be performing eighteen songs and five of my female voice students will assist by singing eight selections.
“Historical notes are being provided by Chelsie Propst, a fine young soprano who completed her MM in Voice with Paul Rowe and is now a PhD candidate in Musicology. I add some Performance Notes/Suggestions and Diction pointers. For this concert of 26 songs we will provide the full notes on about 10 songs and I will provide my own translations and International Phonetic Alphabet transcriptions for all of them (except the final set of English songs). This concert is the second in a series of four with number three taking place April 3rd, 2014 in Mills Hall and number four taking place during the 2014-15 school year.
“The goal/plan at this point is to eventually complete a book tentatively entitled “100 Teaching Favorites for the Voice Studio.” The book will begin with some chapters on vocal pedagogy, diction, ornamentation, and other issues followed by information about performing each of the 100 songs. Each song will have historical background written by Ms. Propst, followed by performance and diction pointers, translations and IPA.”