Tenor Orson Van Gay, Celebrity of the Evening
Eastern Shore Chapel, July 10, 2011. Orson Van Gay gave his recital, Songs of a Summer Night, at his home church with an audience of over 100. His first teacher, Agnes Mobley-Wynne of Old Dominion University, was host. His current teacher and mentor, Sondra Gelb, commented that Agnes had helped him find his voice. She returned the compliment: “When I was a young singer, I wish I had had Sondra for my teacher.”
The program included all of the tenor arias of the May 15th program reviewed here. This was his best ever recital. He and Anna Sterrett repeated all those delicious duets of the first recital. She was the windup doll from Tales of Hoffmann and the world-weary mature woman in Glitter and Be Gay. Her high notes and interpretation were great. It was really Orson's evening to bask in the adulation of people who know and love him and he sang gloriously. The audience was very animated and added greatly to the energy of the evening. The church prepared a grand reception.
In the quartet from La Rondine Ms. Wynne was the other soprano with Jeffrey Easter the other tenor. Mr. Easter, who has returned to Hampton Roads after time spent in New York City, will cover Radames in Virginia Opera's production of Aida this season. Their sound filled the hall to overflowing! Orson's encore, Stranger in Paradise, with lovely, soft repeated passages and a glorious ending, delighted the audience. Early on in the concert both Steve and I had the same insight that we shared later: there are moments when Orson brings to mind the great German tenor Fritz Wunderlich (1930-1966).
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