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In a Persian Garden: The Life of Liza Lehmann
Evanston, Illinois
Friday, 7 July 2017 - 7:30 PM
Chicago, Illinois
Saturday, 8 July 2017 - 7:30 PM
Contributor: Megan Wells (Actress)
The Unveiled Voices Project presents two concerts featuring the once very popular, but now rarely performed song cycle In a Persian Garden by Edwardian composer Liza Lehmann. The Song-Cycle for Soprano, Contralto, Tenor and Bass with Pianoforte Accompaniment features singers Carl Alexander, Matthew Truss, Henry H. Pleas III, Vince Wallace and pianist Charles Thomas Hayes. The production is enriched by some of Liza Lehmann's own narrative from her 1919 memoir. This composer’s own words are performed by Megan Wells, an actress with an extensive portfolio of portraying fascinating women, including those with a close relationship to classical music.

In a Persian Garden: The Life of Liza Lehmann will be presented on Friday July 7th, 2017 at the Unitarian Church of Evanston, 1330 Ridge Avenue, Evanston, IL and Saturday July 8th, 2017 at University Church, 5655 S. University, Chicago, IL. Both performances begin at 7:30 pm and are free and open to the public.

In a Persian Garden (1896) was one of Lehmann's early compositions, was very popular for over 40 years, and launched her onto the world stage. The piece employs twenty-three selected quatrains from the 110 that make up The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (FitzGerald's Translation). This translation of Khayyam's Rubaiyat is the most familiar to western readers and it remains the entry point for millions of devotees of the work. It has become less familiar to contemporary readers, but still maintains a strong cult following. The verse is mysterious, complex, yet spiritually uplifting and thought-provoking.

The production embraces much of the performance format that Lehmann used in her presentations of In a Persian Garden and her other compositions. In addition to the beauty of her music, some of the popularity of her work can be attributed to her charming personality revealed in tours throughout Europe and the United States. Lehmann toured the U.S. in 1910 and 1911 and performed In a Persian Garden and many of her other songs here in Chicago in January 1910. This new production adds interesting and provocative elements that relate the work to modern cultural norms that both diverge from and reflect the past. Lehmann’s original format of presenting her music along with charming anecdotes and stories is duplicated in this presentation, offering an opportunity to learn more about a woman that achieved great artistry through the composition of exquisitely beautiful music.

While the concerts are free for the public, The Unveiled Voices Project (UVP) is hoping that the audience may consider supporting future programming of this piece and others through gifts and donations. Information about sharing as part of the UVP community through a gift or donation is available here:

The Unveiled Voices Project (UVP) is an organization with a mission to promote and present Western classical music composed by underexposed groups of composers. Henry Pleas III is President and CEO.
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