2018 Winner: Bachelor of Music Senior Recital, Voice

Project Information
Bachelor of Music Senior Recital, Voice
Music Department
The Bachelor of Music Voice Recital is the apogee of the voice student’s time as an undergraduate. While the recital itself consists of a 50-minute, memorized performance of classical vocal repertoire, the work going into the recital entails four years of vocal instruction from faculty, consistent involvement in music department performances, and countless hours of dedicated individual practice. Students pursuing a Bachelor of Music (BM) undergo a more rigorous program than those seeking a Bachelor of Arts in Music (BA); this is because the BM program is meant to resemble that of a conservatory with special emphasis being placed on achievement in instrumental/vocal performance. To be admitted to the BM program, students must audition for a panel of faculty who must unanimously classify them as possessing an advanced level of proficiency. Even after admittance, students must defend their placement in the program by passing two juries each year with consistent marks of advanced-level proficiency. Furthermore, voice students pursuing a BM are also required to take language courses in Italian, German, and French.

As a culmination of the student’s years of work, the voice recital itself involves a careful selection of repertoire and set order. In addition to the inclusion of a minimum of four languages, the repertoire must also encompass a range of styles and eras. Beyond these technical aspects, artistry is essential in creating a recital program. A compelling recital is seamless; it follows a continuous arc, while simultaneously creating a small world within each song set’s story. For my recital, I performed five sets: two excerpts from Vivaldi’s Gloria in D Major, RV 589 (Latin text, Baroque era), Franz Schubert’s song cycle,Vier Canzonen (Italian texts, Classical Italian style), various mélodies by Reynaldo Hahn (French text, Impressionist style), various Lieder by Johannes Brahms (German text, Romantic era), and selections from Aaron Copland’s song cycle, Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson (English text, 20th-Century). Both the music and the English translations of non-English texts were committed to memory.

On a personal level, performing this recital was an incredible feat. Prior to studying at UCSC, I had no background in classical voice and opera. My undergraduate career spent studying voice with Emily Sinclair (three and a half years), Michael McGushin (four years), and Brian Staufenbiel (one year) was transformative. As a performer and vocalist, I developed an instrument that is capable of undertaking and interpreting the repertoire I chose, while also having the vocal stamina to perform it all in one setting. I’m proud of the journey that creating this recital has been. And even more so, I’m proud of the instrument I’ve developed in the process.

*The Vivaldi pieces were performed with music, because 1) one of the pieces involved a second vocalist and 2) the piece is typically performed with music.
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  • Madeline Erica Lippmann (Cowell)