“Arias and Americana,” featuring arrangements of songs by Antonin Dvorak, George Gershwin, Irving Berlin and others, was presented by renowned opera singer Alyson Cambridge on Thursday, June 28 in the Barrus Concert Hall.
Cambridge opened the performance with “Pisen Rusalky O Mesiku” by Antonin Dvorak. The title means, “Song of the Moon” in English.
“The performance was incredible. Her characterization, tone production, just everything she did was wonderful,” said Sheryl Moser, a junior studying musical education. “It is now my dream to be like her. She was stunning.”
Larry Gee, Cambridge’s accompanist, played two solos during the show.
He first performed “Clair de Lune” by Claude Debussy and then “Polonaise in A flat major, Op. 53” by Frederic Chopin.
During the second portion of the performance Cambridge sang songs from musicals.
“The Sound of Music,” “So in Love,” from “Kiss Me Kate,” George Gershwin’s “Lady Be Good,” and “Can’t Help Lovin’ That Man O’ Mine” from Show Boat were featured.
“I think it’s a misconception that opera singers can’t do musicals, and that’s just not true,” said Cambridge. “I was very influenced by Julie Andrews. Every year at Christmas, my family and I would sit down and watch ‘The Sound of Music.’”
The final portion of the performance featured patriotic songs and two African-American songs.
Cambridge sang “America the Beautiful” by Samuel Augustus Ward and “God Bless America” by Irving Berlin. She said she wanted to perform these pieces as a tribute to the coming holiday.
The African-American songs were by composer H.T. Burleigh. They were entitled “Ev’ry Time I Feel the Spirit” and “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child.”
She also performed songs from well-known operas such as “Carmen” and “La boheme,” adding a theatrical style to each song during the first part of the show.
After the curtain call, Cambridge returned to the stage to perform the final song, “Summertime” by George Gershwin.
“I’ve been singing this song since I was 16, in different shows, and it’s just one of my favorites. It’s also a perfect ending to this beautiful summer evening,” Cambridge said.
There was a meet-and-greet afterwards for audience members to speak with Cambridge and get autographs and pictures.
“I really loved the pianist. He just did an amazing job,” said Holly Morris, a freshman majoring in general studies. “[Cambridge] too was very powerful. They worked well together. It was a very powerful performance.”
Cambridge has performed in Berlin, Paris, Vienna and other locations.