Com­ing up in Philly Music: Lyric Fest presents The Enchant­ed Flute’

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Ray Furuta will be part of Lyric Fest's 'The Enchanted Flute.' (Photo by Jiyang Chen).
Ray Furuta will be part of Lyric Fest's 'The Enchanted Flute.' (Photo by Jiyang Chen).

In most of the programs presented by the Lyric Fest song series, the accompaniment is provided by Laura Ward’s sensitive, scene painting work on the piano. Lyric Fest’s next program will add a second instrument. Ward will be joined by Ray Furuta, a globe-trotting Mexican-Japanese-American flutist who is noted for his folk and jazz performances, in addition to his appearances with orchestras and chamber groups.

Expect quirky

The program features songs by American composers that traverse the range and quirkiness of American life. Lyric Fest’s co-director, mezzo Suzanne DuPlantis, says the audience should “expect the unexpected.” Three songs by the young New York theater composer Karl Hinze conclude with a ditty titled “Plague Victims Catapulted over Walls into Besieged City.”

The opener will be a less forbidding group of four songs by Jennifer Higdon, who is a flutist herself. Higdon’s texts all come from the heart of America, the poems of James Whitcomb Riley, the “Hoosier poet” who celebrated the American Midwest in the late 19th Century. They’ll be followed by four songs from George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, sung wordlessly on the flute. The finale will be a group of the cabaret songs that the pianist-composer William Holcom performs with his wife, soprano Joan Morris.

Holcomb and Morris have been a popular act for almost fifty years, with a repertoire that now fills four volumes. Holcom’s songs, with words by Arnold Weinstein, cover all the touching and sometimes bizarre subjects that can be fitted into the infinitely flexible “cabaret” classification.

What, When, Where

Lyric Fest will present “The Enchanted Flute” on Saturday, February 29 at 4pm at The Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, 8855 Germantown Avenue, Philadelphia and on Sunday, March 1 at 3pm at The Academy of Vocal Arts, 1920 Spruce Street.

Tickets are $10 for students and $25 online, $30 at the door.

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