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Program for Breanna Sinclairé

Sunday, June 20, 2021 at 4 pm

Download a copy of the program here.

Breanna Elyce Sinclairé, lyric soprano

with Ron Valentino, piano
Christopher Craig, tenor

This performance is supported by

Program

Part I

Gaspare Spontini (1774–1851)
O Nume tutelar from La vestale

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791)
Porgi, amor from Le nozze di Figaro, K. 492

George Gershwin (1898–1937)
Summertime from Porgy & Bess

Giacomo Puccini (1858–1924)
Donde lieta usci from La bohème

PAUSE

Part II

Traditional (Negro) Spirituals
Ride On King Jesus arr. by Hall Johson (1888–1970)
Swing Low Sweet Chariot arr, by H.T. Burleigh (1866–1949)

Andrew Lloyd Webber (b. 1948)
Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again from Phantom of the Opera

Richard Strauss (1864–1949)
Zueignung from Acht Gedichte aus ‘Letzte Blätter’, Op. 10, No. 1

FIN

Lucio Quarantotto & Francesco Sartori
Time To Say Goodbye (Con te partirò)
with Christopher Craig, tenor

About the music

Gaspare Spontini O Nume tutelar from La vestale

O nume tutelar
Degl’infelici, Latona, odi I miei prieghi
L’ultimo voto mio ti muova O Nume
pria che al destin io soccomba fa
che dalla mia tomba s’allontani
quell’ adorato oggetto per cui morte
m’attende

O Divine being protect
the unhappy, Latona, hear my prayers
The last choice, you move, or my god
I succumb to the fate prepared for me
that depart early from my grave
that beloved object for which death awaits me

From the 1805 opera by Spontini, La vestale (The Vestal Virgin) is set is Rome 269 B.C. The subject of this aria, Guilia, is the young pure virgin vestal, assigned to keep the fire burning in the temple. This was a sacred act for the gods. Licinius, the Roman General, falls in love and is entranced by her beauty. One evening while Guilia was guarding the flame in the temple, she desperately prays that she will remain pure and not be tempted by Licinius. Licinius arrives at the temple and makes love to the pure, Guilia. As a result, the flame goes out and Guilia is sentenced to death by the high priest.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Porgi, amor from Le nozze di Figaro, K. 492

Porgi, amor, qualche ristoro
Al mio, duolo, a’miei sospir!
O mi rendi il mio Tesoro
O mi lascia almen morir

O love, lend me some cure
For my sadness , for my moans!
Either, give me back my precious
Or at the slightest, let me depart this life

The opera Le nozze di Figaro written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte tells a story about love, jealousy, revenge and innuendos. The opera takes place in Count Almaviva’s castle in Seville Spain, 1930’s. The four act comedy focuses on the characters Susanna and Figaro, whom are servants, in their quest for marriage. Figaro is angry when he discovers that Susanna is lured by the Count with his seducing antics. Figaro decides to get revenge on the Count.

Porgi, amor dives deep into the emotions and thoughts of Countess Almaviva. She mourns that the Count has lost his love and adoration for her.

George Gershwin Summertime from Porgy & Bess

Summertime, and the livin’ is easy
Fish are jumpin’ and the cotton is high
Oh yo’ daddy is rich, an’ yo’ ma is good lookin’
So hush, little baby, don’ you cry.

One of these mornin’s you gonna rise up
singin then you’ll spread yo’ wings an’ you’ll
take to the sky. But til’ that mornin’ there’s
a nothin’ can harm you with Daddy an’ Mama standin’ by.

Porgy and Bess, with a libretto by DuBose Heyward, was an adaption from Heyward’s book Porgy, released in 1925. The story set in the 1930’s is centered on Porgy & Bess in Charleston on Catfish row. Porgy who is a street panhandler living in the slums of Charleston is on a mission to save Bess from her controlling and abusive lover, Crown and Sportin’ life her drug peddler. Clara is presented singing a lullaby to her baby in the humid heat of South Carolina, while her husband and a group of men are gambling on the streets. Clara is entranced and in love with her newborn baby. This performance sets the stage of what is to come in the story.

Giacomo Puccini Donde lieta usci from La bohème

Donde lieta usci
Al tuo grido d’amore
Torna sola mimi
Al solitario nido
Ritorna un’altr volta
A intesser finti fior!
Addio, senza rancor

Ascolta.
Le Poche robe aduna
Che lasciai sparse
Nel mio cassette stan chiusi
Quel cerchietto d’or
E il libro di preghiera
Involgi tutto quanto in un grembale
E manderò il portiere

Bada! Sotto il guanciale
C’è la cuffieta rosa.
Se vuoi
Sebarla a ricordo d’amor!

Addio, senza rancor

From the place she left pleased
at your proclamation of tenderness
Mimi returns unaided.
to her lonely place
She goes back once more
To make fake flowers!
Goodbye, without regret.

Stay!
Gather together the small amount of things that I left sprinkled around
Shut in my drawer are
that gold ring
and the prayer manuscript
Wrap them all up in a gown
and I will send the carrier

Cautious under the pillow
There is the pink head dress
If you wish
Keep it in memory of love!

Goodbye, without regret

Donde lieta usci, from the opera La bohème a celebrated opera by Giacomo Puccini, libretto Luigi Illica and Guiseppe Giacosa, is one of sorrow and love. The opera takes place in Paris, France in the 1800’s. The story highlights several bohemians, Rodolfo the poet, Marcello the painter, Colline the philosopher, and Schaunard and the life as an artist. Mimi is introduced in Act I. Rodolfo falls in love with Mimi, his neighbor, and dressmaker. Their love is centered throughout the opera and has become one of the most beloved love stories but with a tragic ending.

The aria centers around Mimi and Rodolfo in Act III Paris. Rumors of Mimi flirting with other men in the streets of Paris cause turmoil in her relationship with Rodolfo. He becomes angry and resentful. They both have an argument. Rodolfo’s love for her is so deep, the main reason he wants to leave Mimi is because she is ill (Tuberculosis) and cannot handle watching her die. He tells Macello and Mimi hears. Mimi then tells Rodolfo to return all her possessions and leave them in her room.

Traditional (Negro) Spirituals
Ride On King Jesus arranged by Hall Johson
Swing Low Sweet Chariot arranged by H.T. Burleigh

Ride On King Jesus!
No Man canna hinder me
For he is King of Kings, He is Lord of Lords
Jesus Christ de first an las’ No man works like him
King Jesus rides a milk white horse, no man works like him
Duh’ river of Jerdin  He did cross No man works like him
King Jesus Rides in de middle of de air, OH!
He calls duh saints form ev’rywhere, OH!
Ah, Ride on King Jesus
Jesus Christ, duh first an Las
No Man works like Him
Ride on, Ride on, Ride on, Jesus!

Swing Low Sweet Chariot
Swing low sweet chariot, Coming for to carry me home
I looked over Jordan, what did I see?
Coming for to carry me home?
A band of angels coming after me, Coming for to carry me home

Hall Johnson is celebrated for elevating African American spirituals to an art form with unique elements of rhythm, accompaniment, and text. He solely focused on Choral music, was recognized greatly throughout his career as one of the greatest African American composers of his time. He was influenced by his grandmother who was a former slave and she introduced him to spirituals. He organized choirs, festival choirs and wrote for African American, contralto Marian Anderson. He was fluent in German and French. His works are celebrated all over the world. Ride on King Jesus expresses the power of Jesus and spirituality. Black Slave workers summoned the power of Jesus and protection from their slave owners i.e., “no man canna hinder me”. The meaning of this negro spiritual goes beyond the historical meaning. The spiritual comes from Matthew 21, Mark 11, Luke 19, John 12. These scriptures focus on Jesus’ triumphant entry. From the chords to the rhythms and text, the spiritual stand on its own with power and grace.

H.T. Burleigh, or Harry Thacker Burleigh, was an African American composer, singer, and arranger, born in Eerie, Pennsylvania. He composed and arranged over 200 works, notably bringing many Negro Spirituals into written and popularized forms. In Swing Low Sweet Chariot, his arrangements are simple, linear, and gives the singer the appropriate freedom to explore, embellish and improvise when appropriate.

Andrew Lloyd Webber Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again from Phantom of the Opera 

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera is considered a musical theater staple in the classical and pop culture arena. The production takes place in the 1900’s, the Paris Opera House. The story tells about a ballerina named Christine, who is given a lead soprano role in the opera written by the Phantom, a sheltered lonely composer. The phantom becomes entangled and obsessed by Christine’s beauty and voice, that he begins to control her with his mysterious powers. A handsome admirer attracts Christine, and the Phantom grows mad terrorizing the opera house and folks. Christine finds herself positioned with curiosity of the deformed Phantom composer.

Wishing you were somehow here again, takes place at a graveyard site. She is mourning over her father’s death, who has been dead for seven years. She is somber and in distress seeking comfort from her deceased father.

Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again
You were once
My one companion
You were all that mattered
You were once a friend and father
Then my world was shattered

Wishing you were
Somehow here again
Wishing you were
Somehow near
Sometimes it seemed if I just dreamed
Somehow you would be here

Wishing I could hear your voice again
Knowing that I never would
Dreaming of you won’t help me to do
All that you dreamed I could

Passing bells and sculpted angels cold and monumental
Seem, for you the wrong companions
You were warm and gentle

Too many years fighting back tears
Why can’t the past just die?

Wishing you were
Somehow here again knowing we must sat goodbye
Try to forgive, teach me to live, give me the strength to try

No more memories, No more silent tears,
No more gazing across the wasted years
Help me say
Goodbye

Richard Strauss Zueignung from Acht Gedichte aus ‘Letzte Blätter’, Op.10

Ja, du weißt es, teure Seele,
Daß ich fern von dir mich quäle,
Liebe macht die Herzen krank,
Habe Dank

Einst hielt ich der Freiheit Zecher,
Hoch den Amethysten-Becher,
Und du segnetest den Trank,
Habe Dank.

Und beschworst darin die Böse
Bis ich, was ich nie gewesen,
Heilig, heilig an’s Herz dir sank,
Habe Dank

Yes, you know, my dear soul
That I torment myself far from you,
Love sickens the heart
Have Thanks.

Once I dreamt of the quench of freedom,
High in an amethyst chalice,
And you blessed the drink,
Have Thanks.

And you cast out the evils inside it,
Until I, as never before,
Holy and blessed sank upon your heart,
Have Thanks.

Notable for his outstanding array of compositions in the late Romantic era, two of Strauss’s most famous works are his Four Last Songs, the opera Der Rosenkavelier, and a variety of piano and chamber works. Zueignung (Dedication) carries the theme of love, a lied based from the poems by Austrian poet Hermann von Gilm. Strauss creates a melody that is flowing and seamless, but powerful.

Lucio Quarantotto & Francesco Sartori Time To Say Goodbye (Con te partirò)

Con te partirò
Quando sono solo
sogno all’orizzonte
e mancan le parole,
Si lo so che non c’è luce
in una stanza quando manca il sole,
Se non ci sei tu con me, con me

Su le finestre
mostra a tutti il mio cuore
che hai acceso,
la luce che
hai incontrato per strada.

Time to say goodbye.
Paesi che non ho mai
veduto e vissuto con te,
adesso si li vivrò,
Con te partirò
su navi per mari
che, io lo so,
no, no, non esistono più.
It’s time to say goodbye

Quando sei lontana
sogno all’orizzonte
e mancan le parole,
e io sì lo so
che sei con me,
tu mia luna tu sei qui con me,
mio sole tu sei qui con me,
con me, con me, con me.

When I’m alone
I dream on the horizon
and words fail,
Yes, I know there is no light
in a room where sun is absent
If you are not with me

At the windows
which you set alight
enclose within me
the light you
encountered on the street

Time to say goodbye.
To countries I never
saw and shared with you
now, yes, I shall experience them
I’ll go with you
on ships across seas
which I know
no, no, no longer exist.
It’s time to say goodbye.

When you are far away
I dream on the horizon
and words fail
and yes I know
that you are with me
you my moon are here with me
my sun, you are here with me
with me.

Time to Say Goodbye (Con te partirò) composed by Francesco Sartori and written by Lucio Quarantotto, is an Italian song performed first by Andrea Bocelli in 1995. The song became hugely popular and a success in the 90’s. There was a second version written specifically for a duo, soprano, and tenor. They add English in the duet version and Sarah Brightman was asked to pair with Andrea for the piece. There have been debates on the meaning of the song, critics scrutinized the text wondering what it is about. To conclude, the interpretation is up to the singer. You can see the love between the two lovers, but there is also distance, feeling empty without that person—highlighting the realities of love. This love is longing and deep.

About the musicians

A native of Baltimore, Maryland, and a graduate of CalArts, Breanna Elyce Sinclairé received her master’s from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and was the first transwoman of the opera program, under the pedagogy of Ms. Ruby Pleasure. Operatic performances include Carmen, La Calisto, The Old Maid and The Thief, The Magic Flute, L’enfant et les sortilèges, Platée, and West Side Story, as well as Meredith Monk’s Songs of Ascension at REDCAT, and Zachary Sharrin’s Time Bodies at MOCA.

Outside of opera, Sinclairé has enjoyed a variety of performance opportunities with LGBT and other nonprofit organizations throughout the nation — most recently the Gay Men’s Choruses of Washington, D.C., and San Francisco. She made her debut at the Walt Disney Concert Hall with the Los Angeles Gay Men’s Chorus. Other performances include Americans for the Arts, Washington, D.C. and Toronto Pride Festivals, San Francisco Trans March, Fresh Meat Trans and Queer Arts Festivals, Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, LinkedIn’s LGBTQ Employee Resource Group speaker series panel discussion (alongside civil rights leader Cecilia Chung), Janet Mock’s Redefining Realness book tour, and the Transgender Law Center’s SPARK! anniversary celebration.

Breanna also made her debut as a guest artist for the Gay Men’s Chorus of DC in Durufle’s Requiem performing Pie Jesu at Church of the Epiphany. She was among Out magazine’s 2015 OUT100 list of LGBT heroes. She was the first transwoman to perform the National Anthem at a professional sporting event for the Oakland A’s, San Francisco Giants, and San Francisco Deltas. She made her debut with the San Francisco Symphony in December 2018, as the first trans singer to perform with the orchestra.

She was recently in The New York Times in July 2019 in Michael Cooper’s article Transgender Opera Singers Find Their Voices, and was interviewed in 2019 for NPR Station KQED Radio’s Three Transgender Opera Singers on the Risks They took to Live Authentically.

May 30th, 2021, Breanna performed the national anthem for the Veterans Episode on the CNN Hit Emmy Award Winning Television show United Shades of America with Kamau Bell. Coming this fall, Breann will be making her operatic debut in a feature film, BOUND by Kevin Lau and Directed by Joel Ivany.

Christopher Craig, tenor, is a Los Angeles based vocalist. He has performed with artists such as Andrea Bocelli, Kathleen Battle, and Placido Domingo. Christopher studied at San Francisco Conservatory of Music and is currently performing at Los Angeles Opera.

Thank you!

San Francisco Arts Commission: I am truly grateful for the work you are doing for artists. This recital would have not happened without your financial support. From the bottom of my heart, I extend many ‘thanks. This has truly been a worthwhile and fantastic experience.

Old First Concerts:  Thank you Matt for offering this venue to perform in.

Sheri Greenawald: I would not have been here if it were not for you. Thank you for teaching me how to use my voice. These two years of training has been the most rewarding experiences in my evolving opera career. I am so grateful for your teachings. It has been such an honor to be your student. You have honed my gift and produced something so epic. Love to you Sheri.

David Perry & Associates, Inc:  Thank you for the continuous support in my developing career.

Ron Valentino: WOW, we did it. Thank you for your patience and encouragement during these trying and difficult times. You have shown me the importance of working hard and having those musicianship skills. I will take these skills with me in my profession.

Christopher Craig: I am grateful for our friendship. Your leadership is impeccable, and that voice is like velvet. You always challenge me and made sure I emphasize the text LOL. Thank you for being a brother and a friend.

Nicholas Lindsey:  I am just amazed by your talent and eye. Thank you for designing and creating these amazing gowns. I am speechless by your work ethic. I am so glad you have decided to work on this gown for this recital. I feel beautiful and confident.

Ryan Horstkotte: I want to say “Thank you” for recording my recital. Your talent is brilliant and am excited to work with you in the future.

Michael Pembridge: I love you. Thank you for being by my side since day one. Forever grateful, my handsome honey bear.

To the Audience & San Francisco: I am in awe at the continuous support and love. The road is not easy, but you ALL brighten my day and keep me going in this business. Thank you! Light and love fabulous people.