Dawn Upshaw | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Dawn Upshaw


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Arguably America's favorite classical singer, Dawn Upshaw exudes a girl-next-door sincerity that puts listeners at ease. Her voice is an amazingly flexible, silver-toned instrument with a pure intonation that's mesmerizing, as evidenced in the best-selling CD of Gorecki's Third Symphony. Her taste, another source of her popularity, is broad yet astute. So far in operas--her Met debut was only a few seasons ago--she's taken on mostly soubrette roles, but in lieder recitals she lets her versatility fly. Her only shortcomings are her tendency to be coquettish and her eagerness to please, which tilts her presentation closer to Elly Ameling's than Elisabeth Schwarzkopf's. The program for this Mandel Hall concert--her only local appearance this season--is sort of a greatest-hits collection from the decade since her New York recital debut. Included are Debussy's Cinq poemes de Baudelaire and Mussorgsky's whimsical songs from The Children's Corner (which Upshaw delivers with an ineffable sparkle). But it's the all-American top half that commands special attention: selections from Aaron Copland's masterful 12 Poems of Emily Dickinson and from the nostalgic Hermit Songs of Samuel Barber, and three seldom-heard songs by trailblazer Ruth Crawford Seeger (Pete's aunt). Friday, 8 PM, Mandel Hall, University of Chicago, 1131 E. 57th; 702-8068.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Deborah Feingold.

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