Vocal Arts DC: Alexandra Nowakowski & Robert Ainsley


April 25, 2019, 6:30 pm

Soprano Alexandra Nowakowski and her collaborative pianist Robert Ainsley will perform music that responds to paintings in the Phillips’s permanent collection, creating unexpected and engaging connections between music and the visual arts.


“Tornami a vagheggiar” from Alcina (HWV 34)

ANTONÍN DVOŘÁK (1841-1904)
Písně milostné
     “O naši lásce nekvete to vytouzené stestí”            
     “V tak mnohém srdci mrtvo jes”
     “Kol domu se ted’ potácím”
     “Já vím, že v sladké naději”
     “Nad krajem vévodi lehký spánek”
     “Zde v lese u potoka”
     “V té sladké moci ocí tvých”
     “Ó duše drahá jedinká”

“Freundliche Vision”
“Ich schwebe”

Fox Songs                            
     “Three Foxes by the Edge of the Field at Twilight”

CLAUDE DEBUSSY (1862-1918)
Quatre chansons de jeunesse                                
     “Clair de lune”

Polish-American soprano Alexandra Nowakowski joined the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artists program at Washington National Opera at the beginning of the current 2018-2019 season. Her varied assignments with the company so far have included the roles of The Unicorn/Weaver in The Lion, the Unicorn, and Me, and several roles as part of the American Opera Initiatives project, including Avery in 75 Miles, Camila in Pepita, and Jessie in Relapse. She also joins the Apollo Orchestra to perform music by Richard Strauss and appears as Zerbinetta in Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos this summer with Wolf Trap Opera Company. During the 2018 summer season, Nowakowski performed Gilda in Rigoletto at the Verbier Festival. She is an alumna of Philadelphia’s prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts, where her roles included Zerbinetta, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor, and Zerlina in Don Giovanni. Other appearances have included the Bach Society Houston for Bach’s Mass in B-Minor and performing as soloist with the Philadelphia Orchestra under the baton of Stéphane Denève. In addition to the 2018 Vocal Arts DC competition, other honors include first place prizes from the Gerda Lissner Foundation Competition, the Violetta DuPont Competition, and the American Council for Polish Culture’s Marcella Sembrich Voice Competition. A Chicago native, Nowakowski holds a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana.

Robert Ainsley became Director of the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artists Development Program at Washington National Opera in 2016. A native of England and alumnus of the University of Cambridge, Mannes College of Music, and the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, Ainsley’s diverse talents and studies brought him to opera through the organ, piano, and choral repertoires. His past affiliations have included Co-founder and Principal Conductor of the Greenwich Music Festival, a guest Chorus Master at English National Opera, Associate Music Director at Portland Opera, Head of Music Staff and Chorus Master at Minnesota Opera and Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, and a faculty member at Westminster Choir College’s CoOPERAtive Program. In addition to coaching and supervising the members of the Domingo-Cafritz Young Artist Program, Ainsley is also Director of the American Opera Initiatives project, cultivating and guiding not only emerging singers but composers and librettists.