I’m borrowing Kerry Ginger’s title for her upcoming presentation in Life Long Learning to alert readers to two musical programs next week.
One is about women’s roles in Western opera and the other a compelling mixture of Spanish and Celtic music. Both programs feature stunning mezzo sopranos. In one year, Ginger and Drea Pressley have significantly enhanced the professional profile of our musical community.
At 7 p.m. Thursday, Ginger will present “Sirens of Song: The Divas of Opera.” Ginger is associate professor of voice at Fort Lewis College. Among other arias, she’ll sing “Habanera” from Bizet’s “Carmen” and discuss such divas as Maria Callas, Beverly Sills and Renee Fleming. Four FLC music students will join Ginger: sopranos Joycelin Grier and Brin DeVore, mezzo Katherine Sheamansmith and baritone Jonathan Patton. Piano professor Lisa Campi Walters will accompany the live performances, and Ginger will add multimedia components.
A year ago when Ginger arrived as the new FLC professor of voice, she immediately offered programs to the community. In October 2015, Ginger presented a free series on opera at the Durango/La Plata Senior Center. Last summer, she was a soloist for Music in the Mountains. She’s a co-founder of a vocal quintet, Quadrivium, which will be featured Feb. 3 in the Unitarian-Universalist Recital Series.
“You have to go out and create opportunities for performance,” she said in a recent interview.
“Sirens” will be held in Roshong Recital Hall, and like all the Thursday Life Long Learning programs, it’s free. Given Ginger’s popularity, it will pay to arrive early.
Mezzo soprano Pressley has recently returned to the Four Corners and will be the featured soloist in the next offering of Third Avenue Arts at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. At 7 p.m. Nov. 18, Pressley and friends will give a program titled, “Cantigas d’Amigo: A Spanish and Celtic Tapestry of Song.” Pressley will be joined by pianist Linda Mack Berven; Sharon Berman, accordion and recorder; cellist Catherine Harlow; plus guitar and percussion.
New Mexico born and raised, Pressley has folded her Spanish and Celtic heritage into her performing life. She’s interwoven her mother’s Spanish lineage with her father’s Scottish-Welsh-Irish lines and will sing in several languages as well as play Celtic harp and hurdy gurdy.
Pressley has a degree in vocal performance from Loyola University in New Orleans. With her husband, Andreas Tischhauser, she built a career on the West Coast. In addition to singing in the Los Angeles Master Chorale, Pressley has an extensive résumé as a score vocalist for movies such as “Avatar,” “X-Men Origins,” “Wolverine” and “Godzilla.” Pressley, her husband, and son, Ian, 5, moved to Durango last summer.
Tickets for the St. Mark’s recitals are $20 for adults, $5 for students and children and are available online at www.DurangoRecitals.com or at the door.
Judith Reynolds is an arts journalist and member of the American Theater Critics Association.