lucy shelton


Down a Modernist Memory Lane

Milton Babbitt's Solo Requiem (1976-77)....draws on texts that meditate on mortality. The vocal line, sung with power and clarity by Lucy Shelton, leaps around as Mr. Babbitt’s vocal lines tend to do, yet affectingly captures the sometimes melancholy, sometimes philosphical spirit of the poetry.

—Continuum, The New York Times (Kozinn) (December 2005)

Soprano Casts a Great Spell

Lucy Shelton has lived with "Pierrot Lunaire" for more than 25 years, and the relationship has been rewarding. The renowned soprano has delved so deeply into Arnold Schoenberg's 1912 masterpiece that she grasps every subtlety in the thorny score. In her extraordinary performance with the CIM New Musidc Ensemble Wednesday night at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Shelton created the persona of a strange sorceress telling scary stories....The spellbinding performance won cheers from audience members.

—CIM New Music Ensemble, Plain Dealer (Salisbury) (November 2005)

Concert Takes New Risks

It was a joy at the Great Lakes festival on Tuesday to encounter two new American works of such vastly different pedigree and style as Higdon’s Zaka (2004) and Carter's Tempo e Tempi (1998), a song cycle on Italian texts for soprano, oboe, clarinet, violin and cello. There is not one grid in Tempo e Tempi; there are many. In the first song, bass clarint, English horn, violin and voice enter one at a time, each marching to its own pulse. It can be disorienting, like a vocalist accompanied by many independent obbligatos: Carter’s music has always been about how we live in constantly moving time. Still, the vocal lines reveal Carter’s latent lyricism, with passages of chiseled melody that soprano Lucy Shelton sang with alluring creaminess and nuance.

—Great Lakes Festival, Detroit Free Press (June 2005)

Two of Mr. Perle’s early vocal works, settings of Rilke’s “Du meine heilige Einsamkeit” and “Der Bach hat leise Melodien” (1941), were set beside a group of Schoenberg’s turn-of-the-century songs. Lucy Shelton sang them all with a warmth that bridged the nearly half a century between them. And on the second half of the program, Ms. Shelton and the Da Capo musicians gave a hair-raising, theatrical account of Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire.

—Da Capo Chamber Players at Merkin, The New York Times (February, 2005)

Saturday’s opening night featured a staged production of Arnold Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire (1912) conceived by the Chicago puppet theater of Blair Thomas with the kinetic contemporary music ensemble Eighth Blackbird and soprano Lucy Shelton. It was a weird and wonderful evening. Pierrot remains a beguiling and baffling masterpiece of expressionism... In Thomas’ vision, Shelton is the poet and Pierrot (an amazingly lifelike puppet operated by three puppeteers) emerges as her tormented muse. The pair danace, banter, flirt and fight. The musicians, in white makeup and bizarre costumes and hats, are Kabuki-like actors too. The set is bleak: a surreal landscape of moonstruck drunkenness. The production was riveting. Playing from memory, Eighth Blackbird’s expressive precision was striking and Shelton's charismatic acting and vocalizing took you deep inside the neurotic mind of an artist.

—Great Lakes Festival, Detroit Free Press (June 2005)

Shelton then sang a recent song by Babbitt, his 2002 setting of Derek Walcott’s “Now Evening After Evening,” a haunting and elegiac piece tailor made to Shelton’s voice. She deftly negotiated its wide-ranging leaps and detailed dynamic structure.

Works and Process review in Splendid Liveline (June 2005)

Fred Cohen’s That Which Binds Us was a setting of three poems by Jane Hirshfield, here sung by the replendent Lucy Shelton, who can serve, all by herself, as eloquent refutation of the old saw, beloved of timid music teachers, that singing contemporary music wrecks the voice. Shelton sounded just fine here, as warm and majestic as ever.

—21st Century Consort, Washington Post - Tim Page (November 2004)

I got more at St. John's from Richard Bernas's marvellous reading with Music Projects/London of Franco Donatoni's Tema (1981) and Schoenberg's tiny, mystical Herzgewachse (1911), in which soprano Lucy Shelton admirably sang the century's most celebrated top F.

—21st Century Consort, Washington Post - Tim Page (November 2004)