Golda Schultz, one of the most exciting singers before the public today, has added four Rebecca Clarke songs to her repertoire, and she and pianist Jonathan Ware will be barnstorming them all over Europe and the United States this year and next, on a bill with works by Clara Schumann, Emilie Meyer, Nadia Boulanger, and Kathleen Tagg.
The program debuted on June 22, 2021, in the magnificent Max-Littmann-Saal, in Bad Kissingen, Germany—said to be one of the finest concert-halls in the world, and very nearly contemporaneous with Down by the Salley Gardens, the opening song in the Clarke group. The next two items are drawn from William Blake: Clarke’s enormous, dissonant, perfectly terrifying setting of The Tiger, and her tender, deceptively simple, outwardly placid Cradle Song—conceived and composed one after the other, in 1929, as a pair of Blakean foils, but not published as such until 2002 (see our FAQ page for the back-story), and almost never performed as originally intended. The Seal Man rounds out the set—one of Clarke’s masterpieces, and a poetic-theatrical tour de force (see the illustrated feature on our Gallery page).
The Main Post (Würzburg) hailed “an extraordinary evening that will long be remembered,” and reported “applause, bravos, cheers, and encores.” The reviewer seems to have had an idiosyncratic understanding of Blake’s “The Tiger,” but he makes it quite clear that Clarke’s setting brought the audience to fever-pitch.
We can believe it. We missed Schultz’s 2017 debut at the Met, as Pamina, but she absolutely bowled us over when she came back to town the following year, with the Cleveland Orchestra, in Haydn’s The Seasons. We were privileged to review the latter for a now-defunct website, in words that proved to be prophetic, even if a little after-the-fact: “Watch out for Schultz: she has a lovely, clean voice, beautiful technique, and real expressive powers. She started out as a journalism-student, and it shows: in the culminating winter’s evening by the hearth, she told Hannah’s party-joke like it was breaking news, and her punch-line was perfect.” We can’t wait to hear what narrative wonders she works with The Seal Man.
More dates to follow, as they are confirmed, but you can count on January 18, 2022, at the Perelman Theater, Philadelphia; January 21, at the Herbst Theatre, San Francisco (even more contemporaneous with Clarke, and check those murals!); and February 6, at the Kölner Philharmonie.
In the meantime, Schultz’s Clara is reason enough to sign up for Met Opera on Demand—and then there’s this. Rejoice, dear hearts!