August 30, 2011

Faculty performance opens School of Music season

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The School of Music at Southern Illinois University Carbondale opens the season with a faculty performance featuring baritone Eric McCluskey, and Anita Hutton, pianist.

The performance begins at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 31, in the Old Baptist Foundation Recital Hall.  There is no admission charge for this event.

The program includes selections from George Frideric Handel (1685-1759), Robert Schumann (1810-1856), Gerald Finzi (1901-1956) and Maurice Ravel (1875-1937).

His Handel selection is an aria from the opera “Berenice.” The opera is set in Egypt during the Roman Empire, and features a prince declaring, as he faces down a threat of torture and imprisonment, his love for a woman other than the queen who holds his life in her hands.

The Schumann selection, pieces from “Dichterliebe,” was composed mostly during a one-year period during which Schumann hoped for the hand of his beloved. McCluskey will perform the first seven songs from this work.  The seven songs, all love songs, speak of a blooming love, but do so in the past tense.

Another seven-song cycle represents Finzi’s “Till Earth Outwears,” a collection unified by Finzi’s appreciation of poet Thomas Hardy.

Finally, the Ravel selection, “Don Quichotte à Dulcinée,” is a set of three songs highlighting the whimsical Spanish character better known as Don Quixote.

McCluskey, an SIUC alumnus, is a Carterville native.  He has a long history with the McLeod Summer Playhouse here at SIUC, but his performance career has taken him coast to coast, from New York City’s Opera’s National Company to the San Francisco Opera’s Western Opera Theater.  Along the way, he has performed with opera companies in several states and in Paris.

Anita Hutton is well known on campus as the assistant to the dean of the College of Liberal Arts.  She is also an SIUC alumna, and an accomplished pianist and accompanist.

The recital program should last approximately 50 minutes.