Sunday in the Zoom with Sondheim
A Voice Recital by the Studio of Patrice Michaels
Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 7:00pm
This event will be presented via Zoom. Visit the link below to register and receive a link to the performance.
Skye Tarshis, Daphne Meng, Lucy London, Andrew Pulver, Alexa Bartschat, Sabrina Chen, Carly Passer, Alexis Ortega Chavez, Antonio Ruiz-Nokes, and Audrey Neace
The studio of Patrice Michaels gives a performance of songs by the inimitable Stephen Sondheim, one of the greatest lyricists and composers of American musical theater. Ten undergraduate singers share pieces from shows including A Little Night Music, Company, Follies, Sweeney Todd and more in this 45-minute virtual event.
"Everybody Says Don't" from Anyone Can Whistle
Andrew Pulver, baritone; Beilin Han, piano
"I Remember" from Evening Primrose
Alexa Bartschat, soprano; Beilin Han, piano
"Another Hundred People" from Company
Skye Tarshis, mezzo-soprano; Shuyi Guan, piano
"The Road You Didn't Take" from Follies
Antonio Ruiz-Nokes, baritone; Beilin Han, piano
"Anyone Can Whistle" from Anyone Can Whistle
Daphne Meng, soprano; Shuyi Guan, piano
"Green Finch and Linnet Bird" from Sweeney Todd
Sabrina Chen, soprano; Curtain Up Musical Theater Karaoke Orchestra (YouTube)
"Johanna" from Sweeney Todd
Alexis Ortega Chavez, tenor; Lark Sky Music Orchestra (YouTube)
"Getting Married Today" from Company
Carly Passer, soprano; Claire Marie, piano (YouTube)
"The Miller's Son" from A Little Night Music
Audrey Neace, mezzo-soprano; Jason Carlson, piano
"Sunday in the Park with George" from Sunday in the Park with George
Lucy London, soprano; Taylor Williams, piano (YouTube)
"Everybody Says Don't"
“Everybody Says Don’t” is from Stephen Sondheim’s social satire musical Anyone Can Whistle, debuted in 1964. The action takes place in a town so bankrupt that only a miracle can redeem it. The employees and inmates of Dr. Detmold’s Sanitarium for the Socially Pressured, a.k.a. “The Cookie Jar,” turn out to be key characters as the “miracle” is promoted. Stalwart Nurse Fay Apple repeatedly butts heads with Dr. J. Bowden Hapgood, a new assistant to the Director and of dubious qualification, who nevertheless works his own kind of miracle on the morally anchored but rigid nurse. In this song, Hapgood encourages Fay to rip up the medical records of the “Cookies,” who are provably no more insane than the rest of the inhabitants of the town—or the audience, for that matter.
“I Remember” is from a 1966 made-for-television broadcast—Evening Primrose—based on John Collier’s 1951 dystopian short story. The show takes place in Stern’s Department store, where a group of renegades has been living in secret. Charles Snell is a recent addition to the group—a poet seeking refuge from the pressures of society. Ella Harkins is his love interest, who has lived in the department store since she was six years old. Ella wants to leave, but fears the Dark Men will take her away and turn her into a mannequin. Charles points out that she has not been outside in the real world for thirteen years, but in this song, Ella expresses the joy and intensity of her memories, using similes that poignantly rely on her life lived inside the department store.
"Another Hundred People"
“Another Hundred People” is sung by Marta, one of protagonist Bobby’s three girlfriends, in Stephen Sondheim’s 1970 musical, Company, as he goes on a series of dates in New York City. Marta adores New York City for its flaws and its character. She stuns Bobby with her knowledge of the city’s inner workings and culture, and he finds Marta a confusing stop along his journey to finding someone to fall in love with. The musical is a love letter to New York City, an exploration of what it means to be married, and a discussion of what is gained and lost from commitment.
"The Road You Didn't Take"
Lawyer, writer, and former politician Benjamin Stone has spent his professional life in the spotlight. Now he reluctantly returns with his wife to the Broadway theatre where they first met, he a stage-door johnny and she a showgirl. In Sondheim’s Follies (1971), Stone attempts to reconcile his youthful ambitions and his unfulfilling adulthood as he speaks to his former love, Sally Durant Plummer.
"Anyone Can Whistle"
“Anyone Can Whistle” is the title song of the musical Anyone Can Whistle, which debuted in 1964. The show is set in a bankrupt town, where the corrupt mayoress creates a fake “miracle” in an attempt to draw in tourists. The show is a satire/social commentary that promotes the importance of individuality in a conformist society. The character who sings this song, Fay Apple, is a nurse who works at “The Cookie Jar,” a local psychiatric institution. She is practical, rigid, and skeptical—she is the only townsperson who is determined to disprove the “miracle”. She wishes she could free herself from her rigid, cynical ways, so she sings these desires to her love interest, J. Bowden Hapgood, a fake doctor who appears in the town during the chaos.
"Green Finch and Linnet Bird"
“Green Finch and Linnet Bird” is from the musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street by Sondheim. First performed in 1979, the musical is about Benjamin Barker, who was wrongfully banished to Australia and sentenced to life imprisonment by the corrupt Judge Turpin. He escapes after 15 years and returns anonymously to London as Sweeney to seek vengeance. In this song, Johanna—Barker’s daughter, innocent of her parents' whereabouts and seeking freedom from Turpin’s grasp—sings to the birds outside her balcony and in the cages of her room, asking them how they sing even when trapped in this horrible place.
“Johanna” is from the musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street that first premiered on Broadway in 1979. Set in 1785, an eerie tale of love, deceit, and murder unfolds in front of the audience. In a case of admiration at first glance, we find Anthony, a young and naive sailor, bewitched by the beauty of Johanna. After seeing her sing through her window, he promises to return to her after being rushed away.
"Getting Married Today"
“Getting Married Today” is from the musical Company, which premiered on Broadway in 1970. The story consists of multiple vignettes detailing the highs and lows of adult relationships, all linked to one character named Robert, who is single and longs to be in a relationship. This comedic song, considered one of the most difficult in the musical theatre canon, is sung by Amy, a bride who suddenly gets cold feet on her wedding day. Amy manically rambles on and on about the reasons why marriage is a trap and why she can’t want to get married. (For our virtual format today, the song will be performed without the interjections of Paul and the Wedding Singer, interludes that sing the praises of marriage hilariously juxtaposed with Amy’s mental breakdown).
"The Miller's Son"
“The Miller’s Son” is from the musical A Little Night Music by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler. The show explores the romantic, emotional, and physical entanglements of ten individuals in early 20th-century Sweden. “The Miller’s Son” is sung by Petra, a young but experienced maidservant. She sings of potential futures for herself, exploring what society expects of her and her resolve to “celebrate what passes by.”
"Sunday in the Park with George"
"Sunday in the Park with George" is the title and opening song of Stephen Sondheim's Sunday in the Park with George, book by James LaPine. It debuted in 1984—a century after the painting it was based on, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, by pointillist pioneer Georges Seurat. The song is sung by the character Dot, Georges' lover, the lady in the foreground with the parasol in his famous painting. Dot is struggling to concentrate on her responsibilities as a model while wrestling with her feelings for George and her desire to be immortalized by his captivating artwork. The show embodies the creation of, and the story within, the painting, and deals with themes of what it means to see the world as an artist, through color and light, and restless devotion to such work. Throughout the entire musical, Sondheim employs a synesthetic musicality to mirror the dots and grand cohesion of pointillism.
(in order of appearance)
“Like the Romantic ideal of art, Patrice Michaels’ voice is both natural and passionate” (Classical CD Digest). “A formidable interpretative talent” (The New Yorker), Ms. Michaels has sung in concert and opera internationally. She has over two dozen critically acclaimed recordings on Cedille, Albany, and other labels. Director of Vocal Studies at University of Chicago, and in demand as a composer and master clinician, she joined the faculty at the Bienen School of Music in 2019.
Andrew Pulver, baritone, is a freshman from Summit, New Jersey pursuing a dual degree in Voice/Opera Performance and Computer Science. As a boy soprano he sang many operatic productions with solo roles at the Metropolitan Opera, Washington National Opera, and Glimmerglass Festival. In high school he had leading roles in Cinderella, Fiddler on the Roof and Beauty and the Beast. Recently he has sung with Pheonecia International Festival of the Voice and for various Slovak cultural events.
Alexa Bartschat is a freshman majoring in Voice/Opera Performance, Choral Music Education, and Psychology. She is from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she taught piano to elementary students and sang in Bayshore Lutheran’s church choir. Alexa performed in her high school’s musical each year and is looking forward to participating in operas and musicals at Northwestern. She teaches piano to elementary students and is interested in pursuing more teaching in the future.
Skye Tarshis, mezzo-soprano, is a first year dual-degree student from New York City studying Voice/Opera in the Bienen School of Music with an undecided Weinberg School major. Her academic interests include creative writing, political science, and varying disciplines within the social sciences. Skye sang with the Young People’s Chorus of New York City for nine years, touring nationally and internationally. She has written libretti for working composers in her hometown, an interest she hopes to continue to explore.
Baritone Antonio Ruiz-Nokes is a sophomore Voice/Opera and Music Education major minoring in Latin American History from Reading, Massachusetts. He has performed as a chorister in Monteverdi’s L'Orfeo with Northwestern Opera Theatre and as Taxis in Honegger’s Les Aventures du Roi Pausole with Northwestern’s Opera Projects for Undergraduate Students (OPUS). He teaches music technology to residents of the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center through Northwestern’s Arts and Music Programs for Education in Detention Centers (AMPED).
Daphne Meng is a second-year undergraduate student majoring in Music Education and Voice/Opera Performance. She currently serves as the Assistant Music Director and Diversity & Inclusion Chair of Northwestern’s Extreme Measures A Cappella. Outside of music, she works for Jumpstart at Northwestern’s Civic Engagement Center, where she films weekly educational videos for three- to five-year-olds in Evanston and Rogers Park. As things return to normal, she hopes to re-engage with her love of performing on stage.
Sabrina Chen is a second-year undergraduate studying Voice/Opera Performance and Communication Studies. She actively participates in a cappella and is a member and Treasurer of the Northwestern Treblemakers. She performed in the chorus of Northwestern University’s Opera Projects for University Singers’ production of Les Adventures du Roi Pausole and as well as the chorus of Northwestern Opera Theater's remote production of Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo.
Alexis Ortega Chavez is a first-year student in Musicology and Voice/Opera Performance. He performed as a chorister in Hansel and Gretel for Opera Projects for University Singers (OPUS) and is currently directing their winter show Gallantry: A Soap Opera. He was recently accepted into the Emerging Scholars Program at Northwestern, which supports FGLI and BIPOC students by providing research grants for non-lab-based studies. He is increasingly interested in the prospect of teaching.
Carly Passer (she/her) is a second-year soprano pursuing degrees in Voice/Opera and Learning Sciences. A member of Camp Kesem, she serves as an executive of the student-run social justice Chicago Undergraduate Program and as a board member for the Jewish Theatre Ensemble. Carly most recently performed as a chorister in Northwestern Opera Theater’s virtual production of Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo and last year sang Laetita in the Opera Projects for University Singers (OPUS) production of Menotti’s operetta The Old Maid and the Thief.
Audrey Neace (she/her) is a first year studying Choral Music Education and Voice/Opera Performance in the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern. She has a deep-rooted interest in music education accessibility for all and hopes to explore this as her career develops. She was most recently seen in the role of Hansel in OPUS’ production of Hansel and Gretel.
Lucy London (she/they) is a sophomore majoring in Performance Studies and Voice/Opera Performance, with a minor in Environmental Policy & Culture. They are a climate justice organizer with Fossil Free Northwestern and the College Climate Coalition, and strive to create art that explores and expands our relationship with the Earth and with ourselves. They are currently exploring the use of music and performance in the frontline fight against the Line 3 crude oil pipeline project in Minnesota.