Tenor Alek Shrader is a familiar face for San Francisco opera lovers. He is an alumnus of the Merola Opera Program, following which he became an Adler Fellow at the San Francisco Opera (SFO) for two years. He made his SFO debut in 2008 the role of Victorin in the company’s superb production of Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s Die Tote Stadt. Later roles included Nemorino in Gaetano Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love and Tamino in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s The Magic Flute. During his Adler tenure he also gave a Salon Series recital for San Francisco Performances (SFP) in 2009.
Next month Shrader will make his SFP recital debut in the first of the three concerts in the SFP Young Masters series. His accompanist will be Korean pianist Keun-A Lee, and he has prepared a program of impressive diversity. Most importantly, he will present the world premiere of The Undying Splendour, a song cycle by the young British composer Iain Bell. The title comes from the posthumous anthology of the poems of John William Streets, who served as a sergeant in the British army during the First World War and died at the Somme on May 1, 1916 while going to the aid of a fellow wounded soldier. (As an aside, Bell’s Web site states that this composition will receive its world premiere at Carnegie Hall in March; but the reality is that San Francisco will get the jump on New York.)
The program will also offer two early opera arias, “Un momento di contento,” from George Frideric Handel’s Alcina, and “Seguir degg’io chi fugge,” from Vicente Martín y Soler’s Una cosa rara. (This latter opera may be familiar to some, since another of its arias is briefly quoted in Mozart’s Don Giovanni.) The composers for the art song selections will include Joaquín Turina, Gabriel Fauré, Virgil Thomson, Gioachino Rossini, and Vincenzo Bellini. In addition, the program will conclude with four songs by Ethelbert Nevin, who may be best known for a song that will not be part of the set, “Mighty Lak’ a Rose” (which was his final composition) and one of the earliest best sellers in the sheet music trade, the piano solo “Narcissus.”
This recital will take place at 8 p.m. on Friday, February 15, in Concert Hall of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (50 Oak Street, near the Van Ness Muni station). Tickets are on sale for $38. Further information may be obtained from SFP at 415-392-2545. Tickets may also be purchased through the Web page for this event. In addition, because this is the first concert of the Young Masters series, subscription tickets for the entire series are still on sale. The price is $100 for all three concerts, and subscriptions may be purchased through an event page on the City Box Office Web site.