* Notes *
The Merola Opera Program of San Francisco Opera tried to hold a virtual recital back at the beginning of February using Vimeo. Featuring soprano Karen Slack (pictured, photograph by Scott Grieder) with pianist Mary Pinto, the weather in Philadelphia interrupted the performance several times and ultimately they had to rerecord the recital for on demand viewing.
Entitled "Of Thee I Sing! Songs of Love and Justice" the recital was entirely made up of songs in English, many either composed by African Americans, such as H. Leslie Adams and Adolphus Hailstork or with texts by or about African Americans. Langston Hughes' "Kids Who Die" set to music by Scott Gendel is viscerally disturbing and made me squirm in my seat.
Slack's voice is crystalline, every note perfectly clean and strong. Her rendition of Undine Smith Moore's "Love Let The Wind Cry… How I Adore Thee" was utterly lovely, her soaring high notes showed no strain. I also found H.T. Burleigh's "Lovely, Dark, and Lonely One" particularly beautiful. Pinto's accompaniment was restrained and supportive but sufficiently lush as well.
Since this was not a live event, the recording is quite smooth and without technical glitches.
Pinto wore two different black dress shoes, a stiletto on her left foot and a more blocky heel on her right.