This week we welcome baritone Efrain Solis to Song of the Day! He has sung with companies such as San Francisco Opera, Virginia Opera, and Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra. You can hear him with NYFOS on Tuesday, April 26th concert at Merkin Hall in Compositora: Songs by Latin American Women (get tickets here).
“L’invitation au Voyage” by Charles Baudelaire is a well-known poem among singers. With settings by Henri Duparc and Emmanuel Chabrier, I’d be hard pressed to find a singer that has not read through one of these versions. A couple of years ago I was made aware of another setting of this poem while attending a recital in San Francisco, by Stephanie Blythe and Warren Jones. I was blown away by this setting and found myself sobbing by the end of the number. It was almost an uncontrollable sob – really an ugly cry. There is a balance in this setting of pure bliss and hope as well as a longing that he knows will never be fulfilled. It really struck a chord in me and made me want to explore Léo Ferré and his contemporaries further – Jacques Brel, of course being another favorite. Léo Ferré is a common name in France, but unfortunately not many other places. His poetry and compositions are regarded as true protest art and from videos of his performances he seems like quite a quirky and spontaneous character.