Faculty Recital: Tanya Blaich + Paula Murrihy, mezzo-soprano | I Will Walk with My Love
Great artists give free concerts at New England Conservatory—simply because they teach here.
Tanya Blaich is a member of NEC's collaborative piano and voice departments, co-coordinator of NEC’s Liederabend Series, and teaches classes dedicated to the performance of song repertoire and in language diction and expression. Tonight she performs a recital - I Will Walk with My Love - with long-time recital partner, mezzo-soprano Paula Murrihy.
IntroductionThere’s a reason songs about love are so ubiquitous—love is an endlessly rewarding source of inspiration and exploration! The songs you will hear tonight are largely folk-inspired and the bookends of the recital, Brahms’ Da unten im Tale and Herbert Hughes’ I will walk with my love encapsulate the parameters of this journey. Brahms’ classic German folk song walks us through the phases of lament, frustration, reconciliation and transcendence in a love relationship, almost like a Bach Cantata, but in under 3 min. I will walk with my love widens the span to the beginnings of love: we hear of building a bower for the beloved in one’s breast, and in the next verse the text leaps forward to the transcendent phase post-breakup, but the brilliant and simple folk truth concludes that love in some form is still there—"I will still walk with my love now and then”. The remainder of the program then explores everything in between: falling in love, courting, missing a beloved far away, love affairs and love’s rejection. We make brief excursions to other expressions of love—love of God, love of family and one’s children.
These are not all folk songs or texts, strictly speaking—but there is something folk-like in many of them. All of these songs, even the truest of folk texts or songs are lacking squeaky clean authenticity. Arnim and Brentano edited or invented parts of the poems they collected in Des Knaben Wunderhorn, and Mahler added his own edits to these folk texts. Zuccalmaglio invented or edited the poems in his folk collections, and Louÿs claimed his texts for Debussy’s Bilitis songs were translations of an ancient Greek poetess which later turned out to be an invention by the poet himself in an attempt to make the sexually explicit lyrics more palatable to nineteenth-century audiences. Grieg is known for his folk song style and many of the songs in op. 48 feel folk-like in their directness and simplicity, yet they also cannot be strictly claimed as folk songs. Britten put his own unmistakable personal stamp on his arrangements of folk songs and was not primarily concerned with authenticity. Yet in all these songs, we receive enchanting, simple and unassuming insights into the human condition. They address universal experiences that have the power to speak across social, class and cultural boundaries.
- Tanya Blaich
This is an in-person event with a private stream available to the NEC community here: https://necmusic.edu/live
- Tanya Blaich, piano
- Paula Murrihy, mezzo-soprano
In stiller Nacht
Da unten im Tale
Wie komm ich denn zur Tür herein
Es steht ein' Lind'
Gustav Mahler | from Des Knaben Wunderhorn
Ich ging mit Lust
Das irdische Leben
Claude Debussy | Chansons de Bilitis, L97
La flûte de Pan
Le tombeau des Naïades
Edvard Grieg | Sechs Lieder, op. 48
Dereinst Gedanke mein
Lauf der Welt
Die verschwiegene Nachtigalll
Irish Song Selections
Gerard Victory | An Old Woman of the Roads
Benjamin Britten | The Salley Gardens
William Butler Yeats
John Larchet | Wee Hughie
John Larchet | The Wee Boy in Bed
arr. Herbert Hughes | I Will Walk with My Love
Irish mezzo-soprano Paula Murrihy enjoys a busy career working at the highest level in both Europe and the US. Previously a member of Oper Frankfurt’s acclaimed ensemble, her many roles in Frankfurt included Dido (Dido and Aeneas), Lazuli (L’étoile), Octavian (Der Rosenkavalier), Medoro (Orlando Furioso), and creating the role of Carmen in Barrie Kosky’s iconic production, which she also reprised in Frankfurt for their 2020 revival. Paula received her Bachelor of Music from DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama in Dublin before continuing her studies in North America at the New England Conservatory. She also participated in the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme, San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program and as an apprentice at Santa Fe Opera.
This season, Paula makes her role and company debut as Prince Charmant (Cendrillon) at the Opéra de Paris. Elsewhere in the operatic stage, she returns to Santa Fe Opera as Octavian (Der Rosenkavalier) and reprises the role of Dejanira in Barrie Kosky’s Hercules at the Komische Oper Berlin, following her highly praised performance in the production premiere at Oper Frankfurt last season. In concert, Paula can be heard singing Mozart Requiem in Chicago with Music of the Baroque conducted by Dame Jane Glover, Sandström’s The High Mass with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and Ryan Bancroft, and Marguerite in a concert performance of Le Damnation de Faust with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra. She also performs solo recitals, both at Oper Frankfurt alongside pianist and long-time collaborator Tanya Blaich, and at the Wigmore Hall, London. Last season, Paula returned to the Royal Opera House Covent Garden to sing the role of Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni) directed by Kasper Holten, followed by the title role Carmen for her company debut at the Det Kongelige Teater Copenhagen. Her recent notable debuts include singing Komponist in Katie Mitchell’s production of Ariadne auf Naxos at the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona, the title role Ariodante in a livestreamed concert performance at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, conducted by Christian Curnyn and for her house debut at the Bolshoi Theatre, Moscow, her debut as Orfeo in a concert performance of Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice with Opera North conducted by Laurence Cummings and broadcast live on BBC Radio 3, and her company debut at the Metropolitan Opera, as Stéphano (Roméo et Juliette). Further operatic highlights include Idamante in Peter Sellars’ production of Idomeneo for the Salzburg Festival, Ruggiero (Alcina) and Orlofsky (Die Fledermaus) for Santa Fe Opera, Nicklausse (Les Contes d’Hoffmann) conducted by Marc Minkowski and Dorabella (Così fan tutte) both at the Palau de les Arts in Valencia, the title role in Fauré’s Pénélope for Frankfurt Opera, Sesto (La Clemenza di Tito) and Octavian (Der Rosenkavalier) for Dutch National Opera, Concepcion (L’heure Espagnole) and Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro) for the Opernhaus Zürich, Countess of Essex in Britten’s Gloriana for Teatro Real Madrid and for English National Opera, Dido (Dido and Aeneas) for Los Angeles Opera, Octavian (Der Rosenkavalier) at Staatsoper Stuttgart and appearances in her native Ireland as Judith in Bluebeard’s Castle, title role Carmen and Octavian (Der Rosenkavalier) with Irish National Opera.
Paula has toured extensively on the concert platform, more recently performing as Didon for a European tour of Berlioz’ Les Troyens alongside the Monteverdi Choir & Orchestra conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner, closing with a performance at the BBC Proms. She joined a European tour of St John Passion with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment; joined Harry Bicket and The English Concert Orchestra as Micah in a performance of Handel’s Samson in London, Ruggiero (Alcina) in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and as Arsamene (Serse) for a tour of Spain and the US, with venues including Carnegie Hall, New York. She has also has worked frequently alongside MusicAeterna and Teodor Currentzis, with performances including Così fan tutte, Le nozze di Figaro, Purcell’s Indian Queen, Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder, Hindemith’s Die Junge Magd and Das Knaben Wunderhorn. Additional concert highlights include Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro) with the Handel & Haydn Society in Boston, Stravinsky’s Pulcinella with the RTÉ Symphony Orchestra, Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde at the Tiroler Festspiele Erl, Haydn’s Paukenmesse at the BBC Proms, works by Tommaso Traetta with La Nuova Musica and David Bates at the Wigmore Hall, the role of Sara in Mysliveček's oratorio Abramo ed Isacco alongside Collegium 1704 at the Salzburg Festival and Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen with Sir Mark Elder and the Britten Sinfonia. She has performed Berlioz Les nuits d’éte with the Irish Chamber Orchestra, Messiah with the Orchestre de Chambre de Paris, Elijah with the Spanish National Orchestra and Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Christmas Oratorio with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Handel’s Solomon, Alexander’s Feast and Honneger’s Judith for the Nederlandse Programma Stichting, and Beethoven Missa Solemnis with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. In the United States she has worked with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, where she premiered John Harbison’s Symphony No. 6, the Philadelphia Orchestra for Handel’s Messiah, the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra for Beethoven Symphony No. 9, the Handel and Haydn Society as Juno/Ino in Semele and the St Paul Chamber Orchestra in performances of Bach’s St Matthew Passion.
An accomplished recitalist, Paula has given performances at the Wigmore Hall with both Malcolm Martineau and Sholto Kynoch, the Aldeburgh Festival, the Oxford Lieder Festival, the Shannon International Music Festival, the Chancellor’s Concert at the University of Limerick, in Frankfurt and at the Diaghilev Festival in Perm. Last season she released her debut solo album with American pianist Tanya Blaich on Orchid Classics. Titled I will walk with my love, the disc explores folk inspired songs and myths and features works by Brahms, Mahler, Debussy and Grieg, as well as traditional Irish folksong.