Recital, Vocal Ensemble Review



Winter's Song: A Benefit Concert of Opera and Broadway Standards


Event  Information

Raleigh -- ( Sun., Feb. 16, 2014 )

Highland United Methodist Church: Winter's Song - Three Triangle Tenors and Two Sopranos
Performed by George Deaton, tenor; Wade Henderson, tenor; Timothy Sparks, tenor; Melinda Wilkinson, soprano; Karyn Friedman, mezzo-soprano
Adults $15; Seniors/Students $10 -- Highland United Methodist Church , George Deaton: (919)851-1255; gdeaton@att.net -- 3:00 PM

February 16, 2014 - Raleigh, NC:


Two accomplished sopranos joined Three Triangle Tenors (a group formed by George Deaton, one of the tenors) in performance to benefit Wake Interfaith Hospitality Network, a nonprofit dedicated to the care of homeless people in the community. Highland United Methodist Church, a host congregation of WIHN, provided the concert venue. Titled "Winter's Song", the program was comprised of standard opera and Broadway favorites. Although most of these arias and songs were written as solos, the five singers performed in different combinations of duets and trios, or sang all together. In addition to George Deaton, Wade Henderson and Timothy Sparks  performed alongside mezzo-soprano Karyn Friedman and soprano Melinda Wilkinson with pianist Thomas Warburton.

The concert opened with "Libiamo ne' lieti calici", the Drinking Song from La Traviata. When the three tenors began Alfredo's line together, their resonant voices filled up the spacious room immediately. The lightly waltzing piano accompaniment added to the playful tone of the song. Although they were simply standing in a line onstage, the singers performed as if they were characters of the opera itself, which made for an enriched audience experience. This was also apparent as the two sopranos sang the beautiful "Sous le dôme épais", the Flower Duet from Lakmé. The gentle and flowing harmonies plus the similar piano accompaniment reflected the picture painted by the lyrics: "Let us gently glide along/ With the enchanting flow/ Of the fleeing current/ On the rippling surface". The two sopranos blended their voices effortlessly between singing in harmony and unison, a result of strong communication with each other.

A highlight of the program was the extremely well-known "La donna é mobile", from Verdi's opera Rigoletto. The three tenors sang the familiar lilting tune, sometimes alternating lines, as if they were having a casual conversation among friends. This aspect of the performance was unique, since this particular aria was written as a solo. This trio also sang Rodolfo's aria from La Bohème, "Che gelida manina." Each tenor sang a different section of the text, often reflecting contrasting angles on Rodolfo's attempts to woo Mimi.

The Broadway section of the concert began with selections from West Side Story. The Three Triangle Tenors sang "Maria" and brought powerful meaning to the lyrics, especially when they sang quietly, yet earnestly, the final repetition of "The most beautiful sound I ever heard/ Maria." The two sopranos were added for a moving performance of "One Hand, One Heart," a pivotal song of the classic musical.

Timothy Sparks and Karyn Friedman sang the duet "Make Believe" from Showboat, a performance that certainly took advantage of the dramatic options of the lyrics, moving from "make believe I love you" to the final line, "to tell the truth, I do." The two singers seemed to be acting as the characters from the musical, which led the audience to understand the meaning of the song even further. The program concluded with a triumphant rendition of "It's a Grand Night for Singing," from State Fair, but then the five singers performed the much-appreciated "Climb Every Mountain" as an encore. The church sanctuary was again filled with the power and resonance of five accomplished performers, to truly conclude a delightful afternoon.