“A Night of the Romantics !” the program read, as I took my seat on an unusually frigid November evening at a concert for Patrick Muehleise, a tenor in town. I must say, it’s not often the opera (in whatever form) comes so close to home, but when it does, I like to pounce on the opportunity much like a frisky kitten on a slowly pulled string.
Based on the leadup flyers and promotional materials I received in the mail, I was expecting the concert to heavily feature opera arias. I was rather mistaken. Although my thirst for opera was whetted only by an enchanting “En ferment les yeux” from Manon (recalling how the aria was sung with dearest tenderness by Michael Fabiano the month before), the program had its poking luminescence ─ a musically-set “Sea Fever” brought back recollections of when I had memorized John Masefield’s poem in my schooling years while Kurt Weill’s “Lonely House” displayed a rhythmic vigor and introduced me to a new-type genre.
Patrick’s diction was crisp and readable; it’s as if every word was distinguishable, even the foreign language passages. His voice, on the other hand, was more “pointed” than desired for solo pieces ─ many of my musically-inclined friends commented that he was better suited for choral work in a group setting. But I had an alternative judgement of where Mr. Mule-EYES-uh (this was how he instructed us to pronounce his surname) would best thrive: the characterizations of Aaron Copland’s “Old American Songs” was played to the hilt of hilarity that I could easily picture Patrick taking his talents to Broadway. I told him so much during the meet and greet afterwards where I was rebuffed by a flashing smile and a boisterous laugh of incredibility. So much for my thought !
Thinking of how I would dress, I wished to be elegant as well as in line with the atmosphere of the event. One of my standby favorites, the black velvet sheath dress with chiffon cowl collar and pleated back train, was perfect. But with the chilly temperatures (and evening status), I needed something equally stunning to use for warmth and cover. I recalled my consignment capelet in coincidentally matching black velvet and slung it over my shoulders. My mother styled my hair in a hurry and I was off to the Arts Center for a night of the romantics !
Toi, Toi, Toi,
Cast and Credits
“A Night of the Romantics!”
Date: November 16, 2019
Lake Wales Arts Center
Patrick Muehleise ─ tenor
Dr. Jonathan Reed ─ piano