SAXTONS RIVER — Main Street Arts continues its Hands On! piano concert series with a post-Valentine's Day program of songs of love and longing Sunday, Feb. 24, at 3 p.m.
Titled “Oh, Rapture, Oh, Bliss!,” the program features Jenna Rae, soprano, and Hugh Keelan on piano with works by Brahms, Mozart, and Wagner.
In his poems set to music, “Johannes Brahms touches on love's glow, lovely cheeks, love letters, and the shell of oblivion, with a nightingale thrown in for good measure,” according to a news release.
The Wesendonck Lieder was composed by Richard Wagner based on five poems written by Mathilde Wesendonck, the wife of his patron. In them, she celebrated both dreams and sorrows, and two were later incorporated by Wagner into his opera Tristan und Isolde.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Sonata 12 in F major (K.332) is rumored to also have a romantic connection since it is thought he wrote it during a 1783 visit to Salzburg to introduce his wife Constanze and new baby to his father.
Keelan has conducted orchestras throughout the world and is currently the conductor of the Windham Orchestra.
He has collaborated with the great artists of our times, including Solti, Haitink, Sir Colin Davis, Shura Cherkassky, Maurice Sendak, and Tom Stoppard. He is planning a work based on Tristan und Isolde, the Ring Cycle and Boudica, composed and co-written with Rae.
Rae has appeared locally in the roles of Leonora in Il Trovatore, Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana, the title role in Tosca and, this past fall, as the enigmatic Princess in Puccini's Turandot. She has also sung the Mahler song cycles and is currently studying the roles of Brunnhilde and Isolde.