Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Darren Chase Chante Le Jeune Debussy

(Photo: David Wentworth)
"The Young Debussy comprises the songs composed by Claude Debussy before his 30th birthday that he felt were good enough to publish. The vocal writing varies, but in most of them there is the emphasis on the middle and low range characteristic of much French vocal music. Darren Chase sings all of the songs in the composer’s original keys. Recordings of Debussy’s songs now go back more than 100 years but the large majority feature sopranos or mezzos with the rest sung by lyric baritones. This is the first recording since 1975 where this repertoire is sung by a tenor and as such offers an enlightening experience of this music." [Source]


1. Beau soir
2. Paysage sentimentale
3. Voici que le printemps
4. Fleur des blés
5. Cinq Poèmes de Charles Baudelaire
6. Nuit d'étoiles
7. Mandoline
8. Deux Romances
9. Ariettes Oubliées
10. Les angelus
11. Dans le jardin
12. La belle au bois dormant
13. Fêtes Galantes I

Les contes d'Hoffmann at Amato Opera
This past season tenor Darren Chase performed the roles of Alfredo in La Traviata, Nemorino in L'Elisir d'Amore and Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni with the Opera Company of Brooklyn and recorded his first album, The Young Debussy, for Albany Records. The eighty-minute CD features the composer's early works, including the Ariettes Oubliées and the Baudelaire Songs.

Born into a family of musicians in San Diego, California, Darren grew up singing in his parents' ensembles. He discovered his love of opera during his first year as an undergraduate at UC Berkeley, where he began to sing with local companies like Pocket Opera. Since then, he has followed his passion for dramatic music and art song all over the world.

After receiving his Bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley, Darren earned a Master of Music from Boston University, singing several baritone roles with the Opera Institute. While still a student, he attended the Aspen Music Festival and the Tanglewood Music Center, studying lieder, mélodie and chamber music. He then went on to study opera at the International Vocal Arts Institute in Italy and Tel Aviv, performing the "zwischen" roles, Nerone and Pelléas.

Upon moving to New York City, Darren performed his first tenor role, Des Grieux in Massenet's Manon, receiving critical praise for his "mellifluous tenor voice.” In rapid succession he appeared in opera and concert at venues throughout the United States and Europe. Highlights of past seasons include Almaviva with Palm Beach Opera, Tamino at the Shaker Mountain Opera, Nemorino at the West End Theater, Alfredo with Pacific Opera and Pelléas with the Santa Fe Opera (apprentice), as well as concert appearances with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and the American Bach Soloists.

Darren soon found himself searching for a meaningful way to sustain his vocal studies in New York City. He applied to the New York City Teaching Fellows program and began working as an English teacher in the public school system. While teaching full-time and studying voice, he found a wonderful opportunity in Tony Amato's "small but oh so grand" Amato Opera, where he had the chance to try on twelve tenor roles, including Riccardo in Un Ballo in Maschera and the title role in Les Contes d'Hoffmann. After the company’s closing, Darren has continued to broaden his repertoire with new roles like last season's Lenski in Eugene Onegin and Don Juan in Dargomysky's Stone Guest at the Richmond Music Festival.

Alongside his involvement in opera and art song, Darren is always interested in new works and new forms. He frequently collaborates with groups like the International Contemporary Ensemble and the New York- and Berlin-based collective, Exilkabarett, investigating different configurations of music, text, film, theater and movement.

Presently, Darren is hard at work on another recording, an all-Schumann album with pianist Sergey Schepkin, and is preparing a recital of Mussorgsky songs with Alexander Paley. He will also sing several performances of Hanns Eisler's Hollywood Liederbuch at the Brecht Forum in New York City.

In addition to performing and recording, Darren continues to teach English and history at the New Design High School. He has published several articles on urban education and is finishing a book about his experience titled Inside School. [Source]

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