Karyl Charna Lynn
The Opera Critic

This is the beginning of a new series where I will share with my readers worthwhile local Washington DC cultural programs and events  to put on your musical/social calendar or to describe the event "after the fact" so you can vicariously experience them, in case you might have missed one or more due to other commitments.

Russian Chamber Arts Society

If you thought that vocal recitals couldn’t stir the same emotions and passions as opera, then you haven’t attended a Russian Chamber Arts Society concert. Founded by Vera Danchenko Stern, the RCAS’s mission is to introduce the wide range of Russian vocal music to the USA in stirring vocal concerts presented in various venues around DC. This season’s offerings are taking place at the Embassy of France. I recently attended their moving Tribute to Dmitri Hvorostovsky, the great Russian baritone who died tragically at age 55 a few months ago. It opened with soprano Natalie Conte singing Rachmaninov’s Vocalise, Op. 34, # 14 which had no words but mournful melody, the perfect opening tribute to the baritone as a huge image of a young Dmitri in Moscow was projected. The second half of the evening was devoted to a poem by Sergey Yesenin, set to music by G. Sviridov called Russia Cast Adrift that Dmitri had championed. It is an intensely emotional piece, that was given a perceptive and heart-felt rendering by Kevin Wetzel, a fitting conclusion to an enlightening and actually emotionally draining evening. The next concert takes place April 27, entitled The Restless Heart.

One of the most exciting musical events in February is the Russian Chamber Art Society "A musical tribute to Dmitri Hvorostovsky on Friday, February 23, 7:30 pm at the Embassy of France. Dmitri was a charismatic Russian baritone, with a outstanding international career, who tragically died last November age 55.  For more information and to order tickets, Contact Vera Danchenko-Stern, founder and director of this outstanding musical organization at 703 354 7354 or info@thercas.com. 

Natalie Conte, soprano
Vera Danchenko-Stern, founder of RCAS and pianist  
TImothy Mix, baritone
Kevin Wetzel, baritone, Russia Cast Adrift