timothy dickinson, bass-baritone
anyssa neumann, piano
Drawing on the rich vein of music and poetry inspired by Miguel de Cervantes’s epochal character, Don Quixote, this program of songs and arias features a rotating selection of works for bass-baritone and piano.
At the center of our program are the two great song-cycles by Maurice Ravel and Jacques Ibert, both written for Georg Wilhelm Pabst’s 1933 film, starring the Russian bass Fyodor Chaliapin. While Ibert’s songs were chosen over Ravel’s for inclusion in the film, both sets include guitar-like flourishes and Spanish-inflected rhythms, charting Quixote’s journey, his devotion to Dulcinea, his ecstatic visions, and his eventual death. Ibert also composed a song for Sancho Panza, which we include alongside a nod to Sancho’s donkey, Ibert’s Le petite âne blanc for solo piano.
Jules Massanet’s opera Don Quichotte, another vehicle for Chaliapin, also features, with arias for both Sancho and Quixote, singing in captivity. Other works incorporated into our program include Saint-Saëns’ rollicking song Le pas d’armes du Roi Jean, a tongue-in-cheek account of chivalric ideals and heroic deeds; Marcel Delannoy’s Don Quichotte songs, also written for Pabst’s film; Romauld Twardowski’s Three Sonnets to Don Quixote; and Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s Don Quixote, six character pieces for solo piano. For extra flair, classical guitarist Alastair Putt sometimes features on our concerts, performing Carlo Domeniconi’s Don Quijote Suite.
In addition to music, our recitals have also featured poetry, prose, and drama, including Don Quixote in the Desert by Robert J. Solomon, the powerful “Life as it is” speech from the 1972 film Man of La Mancha, and extracts from the novel itself.