Cupid sits by the fire, fanning flames until his wings are singed. A shepherdess runs to help, but finds her own heart set ablaze.
Richard Strauss’ “Amor” (1918) is a masterwork, a celebration of love and life, and a tour-de-force of vocal trills and melodic jumps. It is also legendarily difficult to sing. The celebrated German soprano Elisabeth Schumann, for whom Strauss composed “Amor” (as part of a series of songs based on poems by Clemens Brentano) performed it only rarely.
Literally translated as “evening of song,” Liederabend is a German term referring to a recital given by a singer and pianist, particularly of works by 19th-century Austrian or German composers. Also on the program will be lieder by Johannes Brahms, Franz Schubert and Antonín Dvořák, as well as excerpts from Carl Millöcker’s operetta “Die Dubarry.”
Praised by Opera News for her “vivacious enthusiasm,” “engaging, bell-like soprano,” and “high flying-vocals,” Owens recently was featured in Wolf Trap Opera’s productions of “The Rape of Lucretia” and “L’opera seria”; and as the Mater Gloriosa in the Utah Symphony’s recording of Gustav Mahler’s “Symphony No. 8,” which will be released next year. During the 2016-17 season, she will make debuts with the New Mexico Philharmonic, the Reno Philharmonic and the Dallas Opera, among others.
Accompanying Owens will be pianist Kirt Pavitt, a former longtime music staff member with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, who recently joined the faculty of Webster University’s Community Music School.
The 2016 Liederabend is sponsored by the Department of Music and the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures, both in Arts & Sciences. It takes place in the Pillsbury Theatre of the 560 Music Center, located at 560 Trinity Ave., in University City, Mo. Tickets are $15, or $12 for seniors and Washington University faculty, and $5 for students.
For more information, call 314-935-5566 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.