Jerry Hadley | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Jerry Hadley 

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One measure of a young singer's artistry is the repertoire he chooses. Tenor Jerry Hadley, who has made impressive debuts within the last four years at the Met, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Covent Garden, has assembled a tantalizing smorgasbord of evocative and vocally daunting songs by three acknowledged and prolific masters of the genre: Richard Strauss, Sergey Rachmaninoff, and Benjamin Britten. Strauss's "Morgen!" is justly celebrated for its uncharacteristic simplicity and sunny disposition; at the opposite end of the mood spectrum are a half a dozen early songs by Rachmaninoff, all wallowing in melancholic nostalgia. Striking a middle ground are Britten's settings for Michelangelo's achingly spiritual sonnets: rarely performed nowadays, this almost operatic song cycle comes off most touchingly when performed by interpreters with a pronounced literary bent and the ability to execute leaping vocal arabesques. Hadley will also throw in more down-home fare--American folk tunes by Foster, Ives, Copland, and a few others. Accompanying on the piano is wife Cheryll Drake Hadley, making her Chicago debut. Monday, 8 PM, Murray Theatre, Ravinia Festival, Green Bay and Lake Cook Rds., Highland Park; 728-4642.

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