The Wichita State University School of Music welcomes celebrated American tenor Stanford Olsen to campus for a recital as part of WSU’s Connoisseur Series.
Since his professional operatic debut there in 1986, opposite Dame Joan Sutherland in Bellini’s I Puritani, Olsen has performed more than 160 times with New York’s Metropolitan Opera. Acclaimed for his performances of the leading tenor roles in the operas of Mozart, Rossini, Donizetti, and Bellini, he enjoys an international reputation as a Mozartean of style and elegance, cited by The New York Times in 1990 in an article entitled “A Golden Age of Mozart Tenors.” In addition to his work at the Met, Olsen has performed throughout the world at venues such as San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Miami Opera, La Scala di Milano, Landestheater Stuttgart, Theatre du Chatelet, Teatro Bellini di Catania, Theatre La Monnaie, Australian Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Nederlandse Oper, Tokyo Opera City, and most other significant opera companies in the USA and Europe.
Since his professional concert debut as tenor soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in 1983, Stanford Olsen has performed with most of the world’s great orchestras, in repertoire from Bach to Bartok. He has been a frequent guest with the Boston Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Cleveland Orchestra, Houston Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, and most other major American orchestras. Outside the U.S. Olsen, has often performed with the Berlin Philharmoniker, Concertgebouw, Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart, L’Orchestre de Paris, L’Orchestre National de France, Philharmonia Orchestra, Israeli Philharmonic, Orchestre de Montréal, Oslo Symphony Orchestra, and Tokyo’s NHK Symphony. Olsen has performed and recorded with many of the leading conductors of our time, such as Pierre Boulez, Sir Colin Davis, Charles Dutoit, Christoph Eschenbach, John-Eliot Gardner, Alan Gilbert, Carlos Kleiber, James Levine, Kurt Masur, Sir Neville Marriner, Seiji Ozawa, Robert Shaw, and Michael Tilson-Thomas, among others.
One of this country’s most successful recitalists, Olsen was declared First Place Winner of the 1989 Walter W. Naumburg Award for recitalists, the only tenor to do so in nearly 60 years. His New York recital debut was in Alice Tully Hall in 1989, singing Schubert’s Die Schöne Müllerin, a piece he repeated in 1997 in the concluding season of the 92nd Street Y’s 10-year “Schubertiade” project, this time accompanied by Maestro James Levine. His European recital debut at Paris’ Theatre du Chatelet in 1993 was quickly followed by engagements at Brussells’ La Monnaie and Italy’s Maggio Musicale di Firenze. He continues to be a sought after recitalist in the USA and Europe, particularly singing repertoire of Schubert, Wolf, and Britten.
Olsen’s recital will feature a variety of repertoire, including a set of lute songs by John Dowland, highlighted by his well-known piece, “Come Again, Sweet Love.” Other selections will include a collection of works by Franz Schubert having to do with fish, including the famous “Die Forelle,” and a selection of songs by Edouard Lalo from his op. 17, which are settings of Victor Hugo texts. A highlight of the program will be Benjamin Britten’s beloved song cycle On This Island, with texts by Britten’s friend and literary muse, W. H. Auden.
Olsen will be joined in recital by pianist Justine Sasanfar. In addition, the recital will feature a guest appearance by the Wichita State University Concert Chorale, which will perform with Olsen Debussy’s Invocation, as well as spiritual settings by Moses Hogan and Jester Hairston.