Acclaimed Mezzo-Soprano to Perform at IUP

Posted on 9/29/2017 2:42:29 PM

Acclaimed by critics as “The Ferrari on Stage,” “provocative, sexy, and vocally outstanding,” and “a physical beauty with a voice to match,” mezzo-soprano Jessica Renfro will be presenting a recital on Thursday evening, October 5, 2017, at 8:00 p.m. in Gorell Recital Hall at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Jessica RenfroOn the opera stage, Renfro has performed with Opera di Firenze, Opera Tampa, Opera Delaware, St. Petersburg Opera and others in repertoire including the title role in La Cenerentola, Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Paquette in Candide.

Also an accomplished concert artist, she has performed with the Baltimore Symphony, Buffalo Philharmonic, Richmond Symphony and Bay-Atlantic Symphony. Originally from Coventry Connecticut, she began her career in music as a singer/songwriter, performing in venues throughout New England with her guitar.

After discovering a love of classical music in college, she earned a bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Connecticut and a music master’s and graduate performance diploma from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Maryland.

Renfro will be accompanied by pianist Lynda Saponara, who has performed internationally with the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria. In the United States, she has collaborated with the Princeton Festival, the American Handel Festival, dell'Arte Opera Ensemble, Opera at Florham, and Opera Festival of New Jersey. She has served as master class pianist for composer John Corigliano, percussionist Evelyn Glennie, pianists Joan Dornemann and Dalton Baldwin, and singers Paul Plishka, Sharon Sweet, Patricia Craig, and Gabriela Lechner. She has also performed on the TODAY show with tenor Philip Alongi. Saponara has been a faculty member at The College of New Jersey, Mason Gross School of the Arts, New Jersey City University, and Wagner College. She holds doctor of musical arts and music master’s degrees in collaborative piano performance from Mason Gross School of the Arts and a bachelor’s degree in music in piano accompanying from Westminster Choir College.

The program for the recital will include the world premiere of Garden of Life by IUP faculty member David Martynuik. The texts for the song cycle are by former US Poet Laurete Louise Glück from her Pulitzer Prize winning collection Wild Irises published in 1993. When asked about why he choose these particular poems to set to music, Martynuik indicated that the topics that the poet chose to address in the early 1990s are as pertinent today as ever. Especially the themes of conflict and “otherness.” The program will also include songs by Brahms, Hahn, Weill as well as duets by Ernest Chauson with IUP faculty member Mary Logan Hastings. Admission in free.