The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024

Release: Immediate

Two one-act, one-singer operas will be performed at UI Dec. 6

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Mezzo-soprano Katherine Eberle and pianist Darlene Lawrence will present two one-act monodramas -- mini-operas for a single singer -- in a free University of Iowa faculty performance at 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

Eberle, who spent part of last year searching and studying monodramas by American composers, will perform two of the more than 60 works she found in the course of her research, one dramatic and one humorous: "Herstory III -- Jehanne de Lorraine" by Elizabeth Vercoe, in which Joan of Arc describes her life in retrospect; and "Bon Appetit" by Lee Hoiby, a musical monologue sung by Julie Child describing how to make a chocolate cake.

Both works will be semi-staged and performed as dramatic works rather than as concert pieces.

A distinguished composer, Vercoe has worked at the Cite International des Arts in Paris and written works on commission for Wellesley College, Hampshire College and the First National Congress on Women in Music. She has received grants and awards from the Artists Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and Meet the Composer. She is a board member of the International League of Women Composers.

She said, "The idea for the piece (about Joan of Arc) came from a visit to the Chateau de Chinon (Switzerland) and its tower museum during a stay in France in 1985. The tale of the 19-year-old girl leading troops to free her country of an occupying army has stirred the imagination of many writers and composers before me, from Shakespeare and (George Bernard) Shaw to Mark Twain.

"Christine de Pisan's long and openly feminist poem celebrating the victory at Orleans, the only poem about Joan of Arc written in her lifetime, and the materials from the trial in 1429 are fresh and sharp."

Hoiby was born in Madison, Wis., and studied composition with Gian Carlo Menotti at the Curits Institute in Philadelphia and in Europe. He is best known as a composer of operas in a contemporary lyrical style that is reminiscent of his teacher Menotti. His works have been performed throughout the United States, including the 1986 world premiere of "The Tempest," based on Shakespeare, at the Des Moines Metro Opera. His operatic adaptation of Tennessee Williams' "Summer and Smoke" is part of Des Moines Metro's coming summer season.

His "Bon Appetit" was first performed in March 8, 1989, at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., by the composer and well known actress Jean Stapelton. It is based on a recipe by Julia Child as adapted by librettist Mark Schulgasser and depicts the making of "Le Gateau au Chocolat l'Eminence Brune."

A native of Akron, Ohio, Eberle has performed internationally in opera, concert and solo recitals. The Atlanta Constitution wrote, "Katherine Eberle was a standout. More than any other performer, she showed what it takes for a solo performer to command the stage."

She has performed with the opera theater of Lille, France, the Academy of the West, the Carmel Bach Festival, the Aspen Festival Opera Theatre, the American Institute of Music Studies in Graz, Austria, and at the Mozarteum in Salzburg.

Her compact disc of songs of women composers, "From a Woman's Perspective," has been issued by Albany Records and the Vienna Modern Masters Label.

Eberle made her New York debut at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in 1993. In 1994 and 1995 she toured as a musical ambassador for the United States Information Agency, performing in South America and Korea. In 1996 she was active in the National Association of Teachers of Singing, hosting a regional and national convention, and she performed at two other conventions as guest speaker, master teacher and recitalist.

Eberle is currently continuing her research on American opera and has recently recorded the alto solos of the Mozart "Requiem" on a CD with the Interlochen Center for the Arts.

She has won awards from the National Association of Teachers of Singing, the National Federation of Music Clubs, the Bel Canto Foundation and the Ann Arbor Friends of Opera. During the academic year she is on the faculty of the UI School of Music, and in the summer she teaches at the Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan.

Lawrence received her doctorate from the University of Southern California. She has accompanied many prominent California artists and has toured under the management of Sol Hurok. She has served as accompanist for the Oregon Bach Festival with noted conductor Helmuth Rilling and was selected to accompany the 1,000-voice choir for the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

In addition to her work as an accompanist, Lawrence is a published composer/arranger, and she has worked as a studio singer in film, television and the recording industry. Since 1989 she has been on the faculty of the UI School of Music, where she teaches song literature and is coach/accompanist in the voice and opera areas.