On Thursday, March 8, from noon to 1:00 pm in the auditorium, the series will present a free concert by soprano Patty Holley with pianist Dawn Driggers. The program will feature music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Antonín Dvořák, Claude Debussy, Franz Schubert, George & Ira Gershwin, Richard Rodgers, and Oscar Hammerstein II. Thanks to gifts from Anonymous Friends of the Series for helping to make this performance possible.
Hailing from Eclectic, Alabama, Holley has received awards and recognitions including first place at the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra’s Vann Vocal Institute. She is a senior at Auburn University pursuing degrees in Vocal Performance and Music Education.
In 2017, Holley played the role of Countess Almaviva in Auburn University’s Opera Workshop production of Mozart’s “The Marriage of Figaro.” On Thursday, she will reprise the role, singing an aria from that opera.
The program will also feature opera music by Dvořák. “I’ve always been drawn to opera,” Holley said. She says she enjoys the element of storytelling and that it’s larger than life.
Inspired by folk and fairy tales, Dvořák’s “Rusalka” is an opera that tells the tale of a water nymph who gives up her immortality for love of a man. Holley says it doesn’t have a happy ending. “It’s basically a dark version of ‘The Little Mermaid,’” Holley said. The duo will perform “Song to the Moon,” a love song from the opera, in it’s original Czech language.
Pianist, conductor, and composer André Previn wrote his “Three Dickenson Songs” for famous opera soprano Renée Fleming. Holley says the songs are easy to listen to, even though Previn composed them using complex harmonic techniques. The poems have similar themes, contrasting day and night.
Holley and Driggers will perform art songs by Debussy and Schubert. Holley says Debussy’s “Chansons de Bilitis” is set in mythical Greece, and recounts a young, unmarried woman’s personal discovery and sexual awakening. The four songs by Schubert are unrelated. Holley says the order and character of the songs match that of a traditional four-movement symphony.
Thursday’s program will end with two songs from musical theatre, the Gershwin brothers’ “Someone to Watch Over Me” from the musical “Oh Kay!” and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “I Cain’t Say No” from “Oklahoma!”
Driggers serves as a collaborative pianist at Auburn University, where she works with voice majors, the Opera Workshop, and the Women’s Chorus. She served on the music faculties of Presbyterian College and Newberry College in South Carolina. She has taught private voice and piano since 1987 and has 29 years of experience directing children’s choirs.