Mission: to seek and share inspiration

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If It Sounds Good, It Is Good! January 2016


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During the 1990s The Three Tenors (Plácido Domingo, José Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti) wowed millions around the world with their blend of operatic and popular song and inspired dozens of vocal ensembles over the last 25 years, including the Canadian Tenors, Broadway Divas, Celtic Women, Irish Tenors and Il Divo. In this spirit, I have always felt there was a musical story begging to be told by African-American women, a story written in the music of opera, gospel, R&B and jazz, and inspired by extraordinary artists such as Marian Anderson, Ella Fitzgerald, Diana Ross, Leontine Price, Nina Simone and Aretha Franklin. And so, “I’m Every Woman” was born, and receives its world premiere in our concerts this month.

We are bringing together three of the most thrilling voices in North America for our performances—each of whom has both a distinct vocal pedigree and the ability to effortlessly cross over into other styles. Many of you will recognize Measha Brueggergosman from her performances with the Cincinnati Opera, including her recent appearance in Porgy and Bess. She has performed and recorded with many of the world’s greatest orchestras and opera companies and was featured in the internationally televised opening ceremonies of the 2010 Olympic Games in Vancouver. Don’t let her operatic background fool you, though. She’s got the personality and the pipes that lend themselves just as much to gospel and soul as to Puccini.

We also are thrilled to welcome back Capathia Jenkins, who made her Pops debut in 2012 with the music of James Bond and has toured extensively across the continent with me in that production. She was our last-minute replacement for Smokey Robinson at Riverbend a couple of years ago, where her performance of classic Motown standards and R&B tore up the place and had folks saying, “Smokey, who?” by the end of the night.

Jazz diva Tatiana “LadyMay” Mayfield makes her Pops debut for these concerts. LadyMay built her career in the tradition of jazz and scat-singing, picking up where Ella and Sarah left off and taking the genre to a whole new level of sophistication. She carries a stage presence you would be just as likely to find in a nightclub as a concert hall. Rounding out the “cast” is a set of new, top-notch arrangements that we’ve been crafting over the last six months with a mélange of sounds and styles that will groove and swing with the Cincinnati Pops throughout the evening. This is going to be hot stuff!

At the end of the month we’re also thrilled to welcome Pink Martini and The von Trapps to Music Hall for their debut: a rollicking, internationally flavored concert with a dozen guest artists taking the stage along with our Pops. Included in the line-up is the incomparable Storm Large, who headlined our New Year’s Eve concert last year, and my old buddy Steven Reineke, who will be conducting this one-night-only event.

Cheers!

JMR