Twenty minutes before the concert Tuesday in Founders Auditorium, cello player George Bullock manages to squeeze in a rehearsal with Sublime Sopranos Carol Stephenson and Robyn Frey-Morell. Bullock has played the cello for 40 years. He has played with sopranos previously.
The voices of the Sublime Sopranos Carol Stephenson and Robyn Frey-Monell resonated on Tuesday in Founders Auditorium as students and faculty gathered to hear the performance full of love and hate.
The night began with the sopranos singing, “Sound of Trumpet,” accompanied by David York and Richard Metzler at the piano and George Bullock playing the cello.
Frey-Monell captured the audience when she sang “I Hate Music,” a composition of songs portraying anger while still maintaining some comical numbers such as “My Name is Barbara,” “Jupiter Has Seven Moons,” “Riddle” and “I’m a Person, Too.”
“You will surely feel both (love and hate) as they happen,” Stephenson said.
She delighted the audiences with Spanish love songs from composer Fernando Obradors including such titles as “Con Amores, la mi madre” (“With Love, My Mother”) and “Corazon porque parais?” (“My Heart, Why Do You Keep Awake?”).
The audience responded to the serenity and love expressed though the music.
“The audience warmed up as the concert progressed,” Frey-Monell said.
By the end, the audience was completely captivated by the way Stephenson and Frey-Monell brought life to the words of each song.
“I think their voices blended really well,” said Becky Tuttle, a senior music and voice major.
The audience laughed along with the sopranos when they performed pieces such as “The Fight From the Lantern Marriage.”
In this piece, the sopranos performed as if they were a feuding husband and wife.
“The fun stuff is when you get to get mean on stage,” Stephenson said.
Laughter filled the auditorium when the sopranos sang “Duet for Two Cats” where the performers played cats, who evidently did not like each other, and meowed the entire song. The song ended comically when one stepped on the other one’s tail.
“They are both really expressionist performers,” Tuttle said.
Stephenson currently teaches at the University of La Verne and Mt. San Antonio College, and has performed with many professional organizations including the Los Angeles Master Chorale, Pacific Chorale and the Anglican Chorale of Los Angeles.
Some of her own students from Mt. SAC attended to enjoy the performance.
Frey-Monell runs a private vocal studio in Long Beach and has participated in recordings with the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
“It is especially cool to see when she demonstrates what she teaches,” said senior theater major Brianna Roth.
This is the first recital Stephenson and Frey-Monell have performed together.
The recital is expected to show again next June in Long Beach.
Laura Bucio can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.