January 28, 2020 - Soprano Cristina Castaldi will perform works by Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Claude Debussy and Richard Strauss in a guest recital at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 2, in Cole Concert Hall on the campus of Stephen F. Austin State University.
Castaldi is an assistant professor of voice at Wichita State University. Her husband, Gene Philley, who is a former member of the music faculty at Angelina College in Lufkin, is her collaborative pianist. Her SFA program includes Vier Lieder des Abschieds, Op. 14 by Korngold; Proses lyriques, L. 84 by Debussy; and Strauss’ Vier letzte Lieder, Op. 31.
“This is a tour de force recital program,” she said. “The Strauss, in particular, is usually performed with orchestra. The recital is centered around three composers, four songs per cycle. There is a common thread throughout the recital of the journey of life and the realities of death.”
She described the program as “unique,” in that the Korngold and Debussy works are “special and not regularly performed.”
“Those who know the Strauss (songs) will enjoy hearing them again,” she said.
Castaldi’s recent vocal performances include soprano soloist in“ Carmina Burana” in Prague, Czech Republic; soprano soloist in Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 for Wichita Symphony Orchestra and the East Texas Symphony Orchestra; as well as the soprano soloist for Wichita Symphony Orchestra in Joseph Haydn’s “The Creation.”
Among her operatic roles are Alice Ford in “Falstaff” and Le Prince Charmant in “Cendrillon” (both award-winning productions) as well as Mimí in a concert performance of “La Bohème” with the Rutgers Symphony Orchestra. Another role of note is the title role of Giovanna d’Arco with Sarasota Opera. The Longboat Observer wrote: “Cristina Castaldi, as Giovanna, has a lovely bearing on stage … got our attention … in the final scene … she became radiant as an actress and singer.”