Saturday, October 30, 2004

Paré and Clodfelter

The performance of Barbara Paré and John Clodfelter was certainly one of diligent preparation. These two performers have been working together for over four years in different competitions around the nation and also have received many awards and accomplishments individually.
Paré received her Bachelor of Music in vocal performance from the Florida State University. She has past experience singing throughout the country with the Opera Theatre of St. Louis, the Cincinnati Opera Summer Festival, the Des Moines Metro Opera, and Opera Iowa. She has also been a soloist for the Cincinnati Ballet.
Clodfelter graduated from DePauw University in 1994 with a Bachelor of Music. He also studied in Vienna with Hans Graf. He recently began his graduate studies at Indiana University. Clodfelter focuses his time and energy into vocal coaching and chamber music.
Paré and Clodfelter performed a large variety of songs. Some of these foreign works included from Giulio Cesare, Sieben Frűhe Lieder, and from Bunte Lieder. English pieces included "The Lament of Ian the Proud," "The "Astronomers," "Winter" from Six Elizabethan Songs , "Baby, Baby," and "The Pocketbook" from How to Get Heat Without Fire.
My first impression of the two performers as they walked onstage were quite favorable. They were dressed to match- red and black, and took their places on stage with the ease and confidence that marks professional performers. I must also note here, that this performance was a bit difficult for me to review, simply because I don’t have a particular affinity for opera music.This first impression, therefore, meant a lot.
The first thing I noticed during the performance, was that Paré was very good at portraying and keeping her character. She didn’t just sing the words, as many, even professional vocalists do. When she sang "Mountains silvery as in a dream loom large, silver paths of silver light into the valley from the hidden bosom…" even though this was in a German, a language in which I am not completely fluent, I could truly visualize the silvery mountains by the pure sound of her voice. The second thing I noticed was that the dynamics Paré used where relatively unfavorable. There were many sudden changes, from piano to fortissimo, but there was nothing leading one to the other. Personally, I prefer being led between dramatic dynamical changes. I feel that this adds to the intensity.
During this first half, I especially enjoyed Nacht the first part of the Sieben Frűhe Lieder. The piano part was very spooky and I thought Clodfelter did an amazing job introducing the piece. Paré’s voice came in and perfectly complimented and melded with the haunting piano melodies. She sang with immense but quiet power at some parts, and then her voice would explode into intense energy, soaring above the piano.
The second half of the performance, I enjoyed a lot more. In some of the pieces, including "The Lament of Ian the Proud," and "Winter" the words were hard to understand because of the register and speed at which they were sung, respectively. I really noticed in this part of the performance, that along with Paré being able to protray character very well, she was also able to change character easily. She moved from singing Handel and Berg into a lullaby by Bowles and then ended the performance with a bang, singing "The Pocketbook." This piece added humor and was a nice change.
Overall, the performance was very well prepared for. I believe that if the pieces were more diverse, it had the potential to be even more entertaining. The performance by Barbara Pare and John Clodfelter, was one I am glad I didn’t miss.