Those who have waited patiently for the 2015–2016 San Francisco Performances (SFP) Vocal Series to begin will be rewarded with a “double dose” next month. As has already been reported, the series will get underway at the head end of the busy second weekend in April with the San Francisco debut of soprano Christiane Karg. Her recital will be followed less than a week later by the return of tenor Mark Padmore to SFP. During his last visit to Herbst Theatre, Padmore actually gave two concerts as part of the Schumann: Under the Influence series developed by pianist Jonathan Biss following up on a conversation with SFP Founder Ruth Felt. The second of those appearances was Padmore’s SFP recital debut.
Padmore’s debut program consisted entirely of settings of German texts with a particular emphasis of poems by Heinrich Heine set by both Robert Schumann and Franz Schubert. For his return to Herbst, Padmore will again focus on the German language; but this time he will divide the program, almost equally, between Heine and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, separating the two major poets (in that order) by his intermission.
For the major Heine selection, Padmore will turn his attention again to Schumann with a performance of the Opus 24 Liederkreis. This was the first song cycle that Schumann had composed, which may explain why he called it simple “song cycle.” However, he wrote Opus 24 in 1840 at this beginning of his so-called Liederjahr (year of song). By the end of that year he had composed no less than 138 songs! Padmore will also sing six of Brahms’ settings of Heine’s texts taken from his Opus 71, Opus 85, and Opus 96 collections. The major Goethe contribution will be a selection of ten of the songs that Hugo Wolf included in his 51-song Goethe-Lieder collection. These will be preceded by six Goethe settings by Schubert.
Padmore’s accompanist for this recital will be pianist Paul Lewis. Having waited about ten years for Lewis to give his second solo recital in Herbst at the beginning of this month, we shall have to wait only a little more than a month for his next appearance! As a solo recitalist, Lewis is very much in his element with Schubert and Brahms (both of whom were on this month’s program), as well as Schumann. (Wolf never made much of a mark, if any, on the solo piano repertoire.)
Padmore’s recital with Lewis will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 14. Herbst Theatre is located at 401 Van Ness Avenue on the southwest corner of McAllister Street. Single tickets are on sale at $65, $55, and $40. City Box Office has an event page for single ticket purchases.