Shakespeare: The Bard in Songs & Scenes
Tuesday, August 27, 8:00 p.m.
Wednesday, August 28, 8:00 p.m.
Already known for eclectic programming in the intimate salon-like setting of the refurbished barn that serves as concert hall, the Token Creek Festival branches out this year to explore the unfamiliar familiar, the spontaneous, and the dramatic. In one of its most imaginative programs yet the Festival has now spun up a Shakespeare event for this season that promises to be as inspiring as it is entertaining.
Combining a world premiere, scenes from Shakespeare plays with improvised incidental music, and art songs to texts from those same plays, the program will be anchored by two Madison natives.
Soprano Mary Mackenzie, a graduate of West High, has gone on to an illustrious professional singing career, capturing the attention of audiences in New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Boston. She is equally at home in the worlds of opera, concert stage, and recital hall, and sings a wide variety of genres, from pop to jazz to classical. As a passionate performer of contemporary music, Ms. Mackenzie has worked closely with many living composers and has premiered numerous new works. The New York Times has characterized her as “a soprano of extraordinary agility and concentration.”
Allison Schaffer, of Middleton, began her acting career while in middle school with the Madison Young Shakespeare Players, participating in more than twenty-five performances with them. After summer residencies at American Players Theater she went on to earn the BFA degree from the acclaimed Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. Theater credits include Great River Shakespeare, work with regional companies in the Chicago area, and a touring stint with Windy River Players. Now established in Chicago, she freelances as an actor and graphic designer.
“Shakespeare: The Bard in Songs & Scenes” opens with a new chamber work by John Harbison based on a six-note theme penned by William Shakespeare. The remainder of the program offers scenes from plays including As You Like It, Hamlet, Cymbeline, Merchant of Venice, Two Gentlemen of Verona, and The Tempest, performed to improvised incidental music offered by the New York ensemble Open End, which was formed in 2005 and is known for performances of new chamber music as well as free improvisation.
Also on the program are songs based on Shakespeare texts derived from the same plays as the monologues. Composers from the Renaissance to the present day have set Shakespeare’s texts – in fact, the Bard turns out to be the poet most often set to music, and by a wide margin! Ms. Mackenzie, together with pianist Molly Morkoski, of Open End will offer works by composers including Morley, Arne, and Purcell; Schubert, Schumann, Brahms and Wolf; and Poulenc, Bridge, Tippett and Harbison.
The Shakespeare program is offered twice: Tuesday August 27 and Wednesday August 28th, both at 8:00pm.
ProgramInvention on a Theme by Shakespeare (2012) [premiere] John Harbison from AS YOU LIKE IT It Was a Lover and His Lass (V:iii) Thomas Morley Blow, Blow Thou Winter Wind (II:vii) Thomas Arne Blow, Blow Thou Winter Wind (II:vii) Frank Bridge Phoebe: I would not be thy executioner (III:v) William Shakespeare from HAMLET Fünf Ophelia Lieder (IV:v) Johannes Brahms 1. Wie erkenn’ ich dein Treulieb vor andern nun? 2. Sein Leichenhemd weiß wie Schnee zu sehn 3. Auf morgen ist Sankt Valentins Tag 4. Sie trugen ihn auf der Bahre bloß 5. Und kommt er nich mehr zurück? Gertrude: One woe doth tread (IV:vii) William Shakespeare Drei Ophelia Lieder, Op. 67 (IV:v) Richard Strauss 1. Wer erkenn ich mein Treulieb vor andern nun? 2. Guten Morgen’s, ist Sankt Valentinstag 3. Sie trugen ihn auf der Bahre bloß from CYMBELINE Imogen: Thou told'st me (III:iv) William Shakespeare Come to Dust! (Lamento) (IV:ii) Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco Ständchen (II:iii) Franz Schubert from TWO GENTLEMEN of VERONA An Sylvia (IV:ii) Franz Schubert from OTHELLO She Never Told Her Love (IV:iii) Franz Joseph Haydn Emilia: But I do think it is their husbands' faults (IV:iii) William Shakespeare from A WINTER’S TALE Hermione: Sir, spare your threats (III:ii) William Shakespeare When Daffodils Begin to Peer (IV:iii) John Ireland from THE TEMPEST Come Unto These Yellow Sands (I:ii) Henry Purcell Full Fathom Five (I:ii) Henry Purcell Where the Bee Sucks (V:i) Pelham Humfrey Prospero: You do look, my son (IV:i) William Shakespeare Come Unto These Yellow Sands (I:ii) Michael Tippett Full Fathom Five (I:ii) Michael Tippett Where the Bee Sucks (V:i) Michael Tippett from MERCHANT OF VENICE Portia: I pray you, tarry (III:ii) William Shakespeare Fancy (III:ii) Francis Poulenc Tell Me Where is Fancy Bred (III:ii) John Harbison Allison Schaffer, actor
Mary Mackenzie, soprano • Molly Morkoski, piano
Andrew Waggoner, violin • Caroline Stinson, cello • John Harbison, piano