By Daniel Hathaway
The biennial Baldwin Wallace Art Song Festival likes to keep the buzz alive by presenting a solo recital by an international artist every other year. On Sunday evening, March 15 at 7:00 p.m., Canadian baritone Elliot Madore will bring lieder, chansons and songs by Robert Schumann, Francis Poulenc and Charles Ives to the stage of Gamble Auditorium in Berea, in collaboration with pianist Natalia Katyukova.
At 26, Madore already has an impressive resumé. He set a record as the youngest singer to win the Metropolitan Opera National Council auditions in 2010, then went on to make his Metropolitan Opera debut as Lysander in The Enchanted Island. Madore has sung the role of Don Giovanni in St. Louis, at Tanglewood under James Levine, and at the Glyndebourne Festival. In January, he sang the role of Adorio in Les Indes galantes with William Christie’s Les Arts Florissants to open the new Philharmonie Hall in Paris.
And he could have been a hockey player instead. Growing up in Toronto, Madore had his sights set on the NHL, but as he said in a recent interview, “I was lucky enough to find another vocation that wasn’t so violent.” Not so violent, but still dangerous, as I suggested when I spoke with him by phone in Zürich, referring to a Glyndebourne photo where Madore, as Don Giovanni, is hanging on for dear life while climbing up to the bedroom window of a potential conquest. “Well, I won’t get a concussion in opera, but that scene in Glyndebourne was pretty nerve-wracking. That was the steepest ramp ever. At one point, when the Commendatore arrives, I had to do a little roll-down. It was scary, but I got through it.”
When we spoke, Elliot Madore was in Zürich singing the role of Harlekin in Richard Strauss’s Ariadne aux Naxos, while “getting Pélleas et Mélisande into my head” for forthcoming performances in Zagreb and Munich, and preparing for his recital in Berea. “I don’t sing recitals as often as I’d like because I have a lot of opera engagements and it’s difficult to fit everything in. But I love lieder, chansons and songs. I was lucky enough to be free for the recital date in Cleveland. It’s a program we’ll repeat in a few weeks at the St. Lawrence Center for Music Toronto.”
On Sunday, Madore will begin his program with Robert Schumann’s Balsatzar, op. 57, followed by Schumann’s Liederkreis, op. 39, a song cycle on poems by Joseph von Eichendorff. Francis Poulenc’s Banalités, on poems by Guillaume Apollonaire, and five Charles Ives songs (The Circus Band, Ich grolle nicht, The Side Show, Tom Sails Away and Memories) will make for an intriguing second half.
Read the rest of the preview at ClevelandClassical.com.