• July 25, 2014

Glowing voices at UMHB concert

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Posted: Friday, January 24, 2014 4:30 am

BELTON — The ground floor of Hughes Recital Hall was filled to capacity when Susan Anderson and Alissa Young, both sophomores at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, arrived Tuesday evening.

“We should have known better,” Young said. “The Hogans’ concert was packed last year, too.”

Young and Anderson eventually found seats and with the house lights dimmed, this year’s faculty recital began.

Penny Hogan, soprano, and her husband, George, bass, were the featured artists and are the married duo helms the opera program at the university.

The Hogans are both assistant professors at the university and teach voice, conducting, vocal literature as well as directing Opera Cru, the school’s elite performing ensemble.

The recital, which was standing room only, started in high gear as Penny Hogan, accompanied by Nelda Milligan on piano and Michelle Palmer on clarinet, performed Franz Schubert’s “Der Hirt auf dem Felsen.”

This song, composed by the master melodist at his creative peak, was described by George as a “tour-de-force,” and with the able assistance of the lyrical clarinet and Milligan’s ever-sensitive piano, the yearning voice of the shepherd was embodied in Penny Hogan’s luminous tones.

Vocal virtuosityONLINE EXTRA: See more

photos and watch a video with this story at KDHNEWS.COM

By Steve Pettit

Herald correspondent

BELTON — The ground floor of Hughes Recital Hall was filled to capacity when Susan Anderson and Alissa Young, both sophomores at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, arrived Tuesday evening.

“We should have known better,” Young said. “The Hogans’ concert was packed last year, too.”

Young and Anderson eventually found seats and with the house lights dimmed, this year’s faculty recital began.

Penny Hogan, soprano, and her husband, George, bass, were the featured artists and are the married duo helms the opera program at the university.

The Hogans are both assistant professors at the university and teach voice, conducting, vocal literature as well as directing Opera Cru, the school’s elite performing ensemble.

The recital, which was standing room only, started in high gear as Penny Hogan, accompanied by Nelda Milligan on piano and Michelle Palmer on clarinet, performed Franz Schubert’s “Der Hirt auf dem Felsen.”

This song, composed by the master melodist at his creative peak, was described by George as a “tour-de-force,” and with the able assistance of the lyrical clarinet and Milligan’s ever-sensitive piano, the yearning voice of the shepherd was embodied in Penny Hogan’s luminous tones.

Vocal virtuosity

George Hogan opened his part of the concert with a dramatic aria from Verdi’s opera “Don Carlo.” Hogan’s voice is a lush instrument, his imposing low register complemented by a remarkable high. The dark, smoky spectrum of sound is equalled by his superb vocal virtuosity. The Hogans excel in superior diction and the listener hears the lyrics surely and distinctly.

First-call area cellist Doug Fischer joined the singers and pianists onstage for two selections, and his burnished tone and faultless execution contributed to the evening’s musical pleasures. The Verdi particularly benefited from Fischer’s sonorities, as his deep-hued textures blended with Hogan’s emotional singing to immediate audience response.

Another ringer from the university’s faculty, Michelle Roueche, handled pianistic duties on several pieces, nimbly partnering with George Hogan on “Vous qui faites” from Gounod’s “Faust.”

This sure-fire audience pleaser, a mocking burlesque of a lover’s serenade, was a fitting showcase for Hogan’s comedic talents, and a well-placed change-up for the youthful audience.

The legacy of the great American bass Giorgio Tozzi lives on in Hogan, who studied with the Metropolitan Opera master, a singer revered for his signature role of Mephistopheles in “Faust.” And that brings up what may be the biggest reason for the Hogans’ instant rapport with Tuesday’s audience: actual, real-world performing experience.

Besides the requisite advanced degrees, George Hogan has performed onstage at nearly every opera house in North America, throughout Europe and in Sydney, Australia. Three years ago he was tapped as stage director at Carnegie Hall, where Penny also has appeared as a guest soloist. This duo has a professional performing resume that’s rarely found in academia, and it shows in their polished stage charisma.

Describing his operatic calling, George Hogan references the Bible, “The only thing that we take besides our souls to heaven is music.”

George Hogan opened his part of the concert with a dramatic aria from Verdi’s opera “Don Carlo.” Hogan’s voice is a lush instrument, his imposing low register complemented by a remarkable high. The dark, smoky spectrum of sound is equalled by his superb vocal virtuosity. The Hogans excel in superior diction and the listener hears the lyrics surely and distinctly.

First-call area cellist Doug Fischer joined the singers and pianists onstage for two selections, and his burnished tone and faultless execution contributed to the evening’s musical pleasures. The Verdi particularly benefited from Fischer’s sonorities, as his deep-hued textures blended with Hogan’s emotional singing to immediate audience response.

Another ringer from the university’s faculty, Michelle Roueche, handled pianistic duties on several pieces, nimbly partnering with George Hogan on “Vous qui faites” from Gounod’s “Faust.”

This sure-fire audience pleaser, a mocking burlesque of a lover’s serenade, was a fitting showcase for Hogan’s comedic talents, and a well-placed change-up for the youthful audience.

The legacy of the great American bass Giorgio Tozzi lives on in Hogan, who studied with the Metropolitan Opera master, a singer revered for his signature role of Mephistopheles in “Faust.” And that brings up what may be the biggest reason for the Hogans’ instant rapport with Tuesday’s audience: actual, real-world performing experience.

Besides the requisite advanced degrees, George Hogan has performed onstage at nearly every opera house in North America, throughout Europe and in Sydney, Australia. Three years ago he was tapped as stage director at Carnegie Hall, where Penny also has appeared as a guest soloist. This duo has a professional performing resume that’s rarely found in academia, and it shows in their polished stage charisma.

Describing his operatic calling, George Hogan references the Bible, “The only thing that we take besides our souls to heaven is music.”

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