'There’s a Place for Us'
Leonard Bernstein: West Side Story: “Somewhere” – Songfest: “A Julia de Burgos” – 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue: “Take Care of this House”- Candide: “Glitter and be Gay”
Heitor Villa-Lobos: Bachianas Brasileiras N° 5: “Aria” (Cantilena) – Floresta do Amazonas, W551: “Canção de Amor” – “Melodia Sentimental”
Ricky Ian Gordon: Only Heaven: “Stars” – Will There Really be a “Morning”?
Christopher Theofanidis: The Cows of Apollo: “Maia’s Aria"
Stephen Foster (arr. B. Coughlin): Jeanie With the Light Brown Hair
Osvaldo Golijov: Lúa Descolorida
Igor Stravinsky: The Rake’s Progress: “No Word from Tom”
Nadine Sierra (soprano), Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Robert Spano (conductor)
Recording: Angel Recording Studios (Studio 3), London, England (October 2017) – 66’42
Deutsche Grammophon B0028836-02 – Booklet in English and German
If words can translate into song, then Nadine Sierra wills exactitudes of emotional beauty. Despite her youthful looks, this Ft. Lauderdale native has tremendously mature timbre even at 30 years of age. This album is more than singing of notes and vibrato: this debut brings passionate diplomacy for peace and search of solace.
Innocently positioned inside the CD case is a Dalai Lama XIV inscription. Citing a parcel of his wisdom aids in understanding Mlle. Sierra’s desideratum: “…The problems that confront us today are created by man, whether they are violent conflicts, destruction of the environment, poverty, or hunger. These problems can be resolved thanks to human efforts, by understanding that we are brothers and sisters and by developing this sense of fraternity...” Nadine Sierra rises to such an occasion by choosing music originating from words…those words translate into music which assuage adversity in our ongoing turbulent world. The communiqué reads simply and credibly.
One senses Nadine Sierra is ensconced inside a spirit of understated graciousness. This young lady’s Puerto Rican and Portuguese ancestry reaches beyond her roots by finding ways to dissolve cultural boundaries and to embrace mankind. One of opera’s up-and-coming millennial “Goodwill Ambassadors”, Nadine Sierra circles the wagons around a message of positive outcome while succeeding atop a grounded substrate. A single listen-through of 'There’s a Place for Us' congeals and convinces.
Now in his 18th season as Music Director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (ASO), Robert Spano has fostered multiple relationships with living composers, collectively dubbed the “Atlanta School.” These modern-day artists, whose music is supported by literary craftsmanship, builds upon the soprano’s ideals that nicely mirror beneath M. Spano. The ASO is a “musical Tempur-Pedic © mattress” of sorts: the buoyancy supports and envelopes Nadine Sierra’s blessed resonances.
Each of the compositions has much to say. The scale draws upon varying levels of warm introspection and exploration. Not only will one find ageless favorites such as Bernstein’s “Somewhere” and Foster’s “Jeanie With the Light Brown Hair”, one will be exposed to lesser-known jewels including Bernstein’s political metaphor, “Take Care of This House” and two pieces penned for the 1959 movie Green Mansions. As a fleeting memento, Villa-Lobos’ "Canção de Amor" rallies in a dreamy argument and verifiable dolor genuino.
Much of what Nadine Sierra sings triggers a bountiful and vibrant landscape, much like a salient watercolor wash: one pays greater attention to the power of words in a so called “call to action.” Both of Ricky Ian Gordon’s selections strike a deep nerve. In particular, the “Will There Really be a “Morning”?”, set to the writings by Emily Dickinson, is emotionally arresting.
A showcase aria for any and all an aspiring soprano is the sassy Candide favorite “Glitter and be Gay.” Nadine Sierra has forthright carry in her notes, and the crowning conclusion blisters with bliss. It’s quite fabulous, but because of her smoky register and deeper warmth, this tends to pry away from Cunégonde’s playful repartee.
Gifted with sonority of lyrical duskiness, Mlle. Sierra’s tone may strike the listener as an early Maria Callas. One of the grandest examples of solemn expression can be found within Osvaldo Golijov’s “Lúa Descolorida.” There is a bold gravitas paralleled inside her soulful vocal chemistry.
Winner of the 2017 Richard Tucker Award and having made triumphant portrayals of Gilda and Lucia, it's no surprise to deduce [that] Nadine Sierra is destined for nothing short of a promising rise to operatic stardom: we hail her future aspirations.
Nadine Sierra Website