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Release: March 15, 2002

Soprano Rachel Joselson presents 'eclectic program' with Swanson and Rhoads March 26

Soprano Rachel Joselson, singing a program she calls "eclectic to say the least," will be joined by baritone Stephen Swanson and pianist Shari Rhoads for a University of Iowa faculty recital at 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 26 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

Joselson's recital will be free and open to the public.

"I couldn't seem to come up with a theme, so I just chose pieces I've always wanted to sing," Joselson said of her program, which will include works from the Baroque through the end of the 20th century, and operatic arias and duets as well as art songs.

"I've always wanted to open a recital with Handel's "Piangero la sorte mia " (from the opera "Giulio Cesare"), and now I have the opportunity" she said. "Shari Rhoads has had the same wish for years as well. It is standard soprano repertoire, and I've never done it."

After opening with Handel, Joselson will sing a group of art songs that, like the program as a whole, encompass different languages, styles and periods, and prove the singer's eclectic tastes: "Fiancailles pour rire," a cycle of songs by French composer Francis Poulenc; "September" and "Abdendrot" by Richard Strauss; and the Iowa City premiere of "Lean Away," "Holding Each Other" and "American Anthem" by American composer Gene Scheer.

"I'm delighted to debut the Scheer pieces at Iowa -- the songs themselves are not new to the scene, but to my knowledge no one has ever performed them here," Joselson said. "Scheer is a living composer who wrote songs mainly for baritone, specifically for Nathan Gunn. They are quite beautiful and I look forward to introducing them. "

After intermission, Joselson will return to sing a series of operatic excerpts. She will sing two arias, "Io sono l‚umile ancella" from "Adriana Lecouvreur" by Francesco Cilea and "Ach, ich fuehl'sfrom "The Magic Flute" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. She will close the program with two duets assisted by Swanson, "Bei Maennern, welche Liebe fuehlen," again from Mozart's "Magic Flute," and "Silvio! A quest'ora" from "I Pagliacci" by Ruggero Leoncavallo.

"Stephen Swanson and I have been discussing performing duets together for several years, and now we both have a chance," Joselson said. "Pamina from the 'Magic Flute' isn't necessarily a role I would sing in the theater, but the aria and duet are pieces I've always wanted to add to my repertoire."

Before joining the School of Music faculty in the fall of 1997, Joselson spent 13 years in Europe performing in opera and concert with theaters and orchestras in Darmstadt, Hamburg, Berlin, Bonn, Basel, Barcelona, Bilbao, Braunschweig, Brussels, Kiel, St. Gallen, Trier, and other cities in Germany, Switzerland and Spain. In this country she has appeared in Atlanta, Indianapolis, Madison, Johnson City, Tenn., New Brunswick, N.J., and Cedar Rapids.

In the 1995-96 season she had her first engagement at the Metropolitan Opera and was engaged by London's Covent Garden for their 1992 Japan tour with Mozart's "Don Giovanni."

She has performed many of the major soprano roles in the repertoire, including Leonore in Beethoven's "Fidelio," in her most recent debut at the 1999 Gars, Austria, Summer Festival; Mimi in Puccini's "La Boheme," Micaela in Bizet's "Carmen," Melisande in Debussy's "Pelleas et Melisande," Donna Elvira in Mozart's "Don Giovanni," Tosca, Elisabetta in Verdi's Don Carlo, and Eva in Wagner's "Meistersingers of Nuremberg," among others.

She has recorded a CD of the songs of Swiss composer Arthur Honegger, in collaboration with pianist Rene Lecuona from the UI faculty, and was featured in the 1998 recording of Gian Carlo Menotti's "Help! Help! The Globolinks!" Joselson performs recitals and master classes in the United States and abroad.

Swanson joined the faculty of the UI School of Music in 1994. For nearly 20 years before that date he had an active operatic career in Europe. During that time his repertoire grew to 91 roles in opera, operetta and musicals. He has sung on German, Austrian and Dutch radio broadcasts and has been a featured soloist in European festivals including the Berliner Festwochen, the Days of Contemporary Music in Dresden and the Festa Musica Pro in Assisi, Italy.

Swanson took part in the Viktor Ullman-Projekt 1998, a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of a composer who died in the Nazi death camps. Swanson sang major roles in Ullman's operas "Der zerbrochene Krug" and "Der Kaiser von Atlantis" at performances in Europe, at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., and at the Martyr's Museum in Los Angeles.

Swanson has also had an extensive career as a concert singer, appearing as featured soloist with many U.S. orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony under Sir Georg Solti, Raphael Fruehbeck de Burgos and Margaret Hillis. He has recorded Mendelssohn's "St. Paul" and Ullmann's "Der Kaiser von Atlantis." Since coming to Iowa City, he has presented solo recitals, appeared in and directed UI Opera Theater productions, and performed with the Chamber Singers of Iowa City.

Rhoads joined the UI School of Music faculty in the fall of 2000. She earned her degree in accompanying and has completed post-graduate studies in opera coaching/conducting at the University of Southern California. Before arriving at the UI she taught music history at the Musikhochschule (Music conservatory) in Lucerne and the Conservatory of Lausanne in Switzerland. Rhoads has also been Kapellmeister at the Lucerne Theater and conductor/coach at the opera theater in Darmstadt, Germany. She was coach at the Barcelona and Madrid opera theaters.

Her accompanying credentials include recitals with Jose Carreras, Luis Lima and Montserrat Caballe with whom she worked exclusively as coach/accompanist and orchestrator. She has accompanied master classes with a number of renowned artists including singer Gerard Souzay, cellist Lynn Harrell and violist William Primrose, and served as staff accompanist for the Francesco Vinas (Barcelona, Spain) and Munich International competitions.

The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

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