Arctic arias


It could have been mistaken for last weekend’s weather report. “Winter has done his worst,” sang soprano Jessica Cullinan at Thursday’s noontime concert in Fulton Recital Hall. Accompanied by pianist Patricia Spencer and attired in a long, black dress, Cullinan, a member of the Hyde Park group Chicago Chorale, serenaded the audience of about 30 with winter-themed music, ranging from Samuel Barber’s mournful “Must the Winter Comes So Soon?” to a soaring Copland etude. “This one doesn’t have any words,” the singer warned of the latter, “so don’t be shocked.”

Shadowed by drab winter gray peeking through the window behind her, Cullinan brightened up the hall with Pietra Cimara’s dreamy, waltz-like “Fiocca La Neve” and a powerful rendition of Roger Quilter’s arrangement of Shakespeare’s poem “Blow, Blow, Thou Winter Wind.” Nostalgia about softly falling snowflakes was balanced with desperate pleas for deliverance. “And at times like this,” Cullinan belted to a Sondheim tune, “I think I would gladly die—for a day of sky!” She concluded the program with Molly Carew’s upbeat homage to spring, “Everywhere I Look,” before sending listeners out into the February cold.


Photo: Cullinan and Spencer at Fulton Recital Hall.

February 24, 2006