Sondra Radvanovsky was having a good night at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion downtown. The American soprano, giving a recital as part of the L.A. Opera season, had performed repertory ranging from Verdi to Copland, interspersed with personal stories and an emotional tribute to her late father. Now she’d returned for encores—to an audience so enthusiastic she ended up singing four.
Radvanovsky, who before that evening in 2014 had starred at L.A. Opera in Tosca and reprises her title role in some performances during Tosca’s upcoming run April 22-May 13, chose a diverse array of encores: “Io son l’umile ancella” from Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur, “I Could Have Danced All Night” from Lerner and Loewe’s My Fair Lady, “Vissi d’arte” from Tosca and “O mio babbino caro” from Gianni Schicchi, both by Puccini. It was obvious that the audience wanted to hear whatever she had to offer, and she, in turn, was happy to oblige.
Perhaps no part of a performance exemplifies the artist-audience bond more than the encore, the short musical piece (or pieces) that extends a concert after the curtain call, giving listeners a few more minutes of entertainment to enjoy and often accompanied by an explanation of its personal meaning to the performer.
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Libby Slate is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles.