Unbound Identities Artist Interview: Rebecca Richardson

Meet recital artist Rebecca Richardson

Soprano Rebecca Richardson, mezzo Brittany Fowler and pianist Jennifer Peterson perform UNBOUND IDENTITIES - a recital project exploring the concept of identify across time and across borders.

Saturday, March 24 @ 3pm

Opera America

330 7th Ave., NYC

All of your music was written by composers from the early days of Modernism to the beginning of the 21st century. Tell us about why you picked these works!

 I picked composers from around the same period because I loved that, while they each have their own, unique take on modernizing classical music, they were all the while inspired to create these songs by works written centuries earlier. I wanted to program Berger in particular because he's sadly so often overlooked or even forgotten among his contemporaries but created some truly exquisite songs. He's a gem!


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Two of your sets, Barber and Berger, feature music by a 20th century composer and text by Medieval or Renaissance writers, including Machaut, a composer himself. How do these sets compare to each other?

Actually, all three composers use poetry from the Medieval and early Renaissance periods, which ended up being my rational behind pairing them together in this program (though two of the Casella poets are anonymous Medieval poets). All three composers have unique ways of infusing anachronistic musical language to pay homage to the poetry and period, some more obviously than others. For example, the Hermit Songs are built entirely on modes and eliminate the use of time signatures, yet the overarching concept, man's search for self-awareness, is really quite modern. Berger's music is luscious, romantic, and so very French. In the Casella set, the text painting goes above and beyond what one might expect by looking at the poetry alone. 

Except for the Hermit Songs, most of this repertoire will likely be unfamiliar to your audience. What should they listen for?

 I think Casella comes across as more experimental in style than Berger. Berger lived a very nomadic life and composed vocal music in several languages. He excelled at evoking culturally appropriate style for each work he wrote (in this case, French music). Casella mastered the juxtaposition of pushing harmonic boundaries while simultaneously hinting at compositional practices of the past in his songs. 

What is your favorite place in New York City?

Such a difficult question! Honestly, probably my bed at the moment. I can see the whole Manhattan skyline from it, so I still feel like I'm experiencing the beauty of the city, and it's a memory foam dream! #introvertproblems Honorable mention goes to Buvette in the village

Any secret talents we should know about?

Soup! I have mastered very few culinary staples, but throw me any random ingredient, and I will create the most magical soup. Also newly accomplished in bone broth-making.

What’s next on your calendar after Unbound Identities?

The premiere of Tabula Rasa, written by dream team Felix Jarrar and Bea Goodwin and produced by Cantanti Project, in May! I'll be singing the role of Lee Miller.