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mezzo-soprano

Alta Dantzler

Opera / Concert / Theatre

"Ms Boover [Dantzler] expresses joie de vivre as well as she expresses tragedy. She presents superlative vocalism, expressive and sensitive to the words."
-Hansen American Record Guide

NEXT APPEARANCE:

By Her Hand: 400 years of music by women

Wednesday May 15, 7:00 PM, Steinway Detroit

Mozart Requiem

Sunday May 12, 3:00 PM Fort Street Chorale, Detroit

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Biography

Alta Dantzler is praised by audiences and critics for her  “richly timbred voice with manifest and endearing sincerity”  (Fanfare) and her “perfect comic timing” (Cleveland Plain Dealer).  In New York, she has appeared at Carnegie Hall as a soloist in Mozart’s Solemn Vespers, and appeared at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center as the Narrator in Peter and the Wolf as well as in the premiere of a new version of Victor Herbert’s Babes in Toyland.

 

On the operatic stage, favorite roles include Julia Child in Bon Appétit!, Marcellina in Il Nozze di Figaro, Prince Orlovsky in Die Fledermaus, Ruth in The Pirates of Penzance, and Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd, with companies including Opera Carolina, Toledo Opera, Opera Grand Rapids, Austin Lyric Opera, Shreveport Opera, and Des Moines Metro Opera.

 

Ms. Dantzler spent six seasons with the Ohio Light Opera, the only professional company in the United States entirely devoted to the preservation of operetta.  With them, she honed her skill as a performer of the Gilbert and Sullivan repertoire, and had well over 400 performances in over 50 separate productions of European and American operetta.



She has appeared as a concert and oratorio soloist with the New York Chamber Orchestra, Helena Symphony, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra (MI and NY), the Toledo Symphony, the Shreveport Symphony, the Dearborn Symphony, Oakland Symphony, North Mississippi Symphony, the Texarkana Regional Chorale, the Temple Symphony, and the Texas Symphony in performances including Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Bach’s St. John Passion, St. Matthew Passion, Magnificat, Weinachts Oratorio, and Handel’s Messiah. 

 

Internationally,  she toured Brazil as the alto soloist in a resurrection of the work of Jose Mauricio Nunes Garcia in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro,  as well as gave the World Premiere performance of Robert Orledge’s orchestration of Debussy’s Trois Chansons de Billitis at the International Congress on Claude Debussy in Austin Texas.  She presents and performs American Operetta across the US, and shared that presentation in the home of Operetta-- Vienna, Austria at the 10th International Congress of Voice Teachers.



She recorded the role of Dame Paula in Victor Herbert's Sweethearts with Albany Records for which she was lauded by Opera News for her "hefty mezzo voice, and strong characterization that dominated the stage."  She can also be heard on the Albany Records and Operetta Archives labels as Dame Durden in Reginald  deKoven's operetta Robin Hood, Aunt Mathilde in Sigmund Romberg’s Maytime and most recently recorded Princess Marghanza in John Phillip Sousa’s comic operetta El Capitan.

 

She commissioned a companion piece for Schumann’s Frauenliebe und Leben called A Woman’s Life (and Love)  by LA composer Sara Carina Graef.  With her colleague Tian Tian, she premiered and recorded both pieces and their album Life and Love is available on all streaming platforms and wherever albums are sold. This piece offers a modern twist on Schumann’s classic work, setting texts culled from Twitter, and the poetry of Taije Silverman, Melissa Stein and Morgan Parker.

Her album Of Time and Love (Centaur 3980, 2023) with John Alexander Madison, viola and Mary Siciliano, piano, was featured by American Record Guide in their "Best of 2023"  issue and is available wherever you purchase or stream music. Along with music by Charles Loeffler and Johannes Brahms, it  features musical settings of Shakespeare’s Sonnets 63-66 by French composer Nicolas Bacri.

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Of Time and Love (Centaur 2023) featured in American Record Guide: Critics Choice; Best of 2023

This is a very satisfying program consisting entirely of songs for contralto, piano, and viola. It breaks down into 3 distinct sections: the 2 Opus 91 Brahms songs, 4 songs with texts from Shakespeare sonnets by contem- porary French composer Nicolas Bacri, and the Quatre Poemes by Charles Martin Loeffler.
 

Nicolas Bacri was born in 1961, and he has amassed an output that includes 7 symphonies, 11 string quartets, 6 piano trios, and a variety of sonatas for solo piano, cello, and violin, as well as 2 operas. I have to admit I have never heard any of his music until now. He is represented here by settings (in English) of Shakespeare's sonnets 63 thru 66. These are among the gloomiest, most pessimistic works from the Bard's pen. Bacri is quoted about his setting of Sonnet 66 in the booklet: "If I put it to music, it's certainly less to ward off that part of me that's too inclined to think that'everything- is-going-bad-and-there-is-no-hope' than for the immense tenderness that emerges from the last sentence, 'Save that to die, I leave my love alone', a real coup de theater that suddenly changes the perspective of the poem...." This pretty much sums up the mood of all 4 of these "world's going to heck" songs. They are by no means cheerful, but Ms Boover spins them out in ravishing tones with great depth and nuance.
 

Fortunately, the mood lightens up a bit in the Loeffler songs, including the delightful'Dansons la gigue!'which brings much- needed brightness to these proceedings, ably conveyed by Ms Boover, who expresses joie de vivre as well as she expresses tragedy. The closing song in the Loeffler set veers toward the tone of the Bacri songs; but despite the bitterness of the text, it comes off as more melancholy than tragic.
 

Ms Boover presents superlative vocalism, expressive and sensitive to the words, ably accompanied by Ms Siciliano and Mr Madison. The limited space in the booklet is devoted to English translations of the texts and the indispensable comments of composer Bacri, as well as biographical notes on the performers. An entirely EXCELLENT production!

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