Performance Tuesday, February 21, 2012 | 7:30 PM

Eric Owens
Robert Spano

Zankel Hall
Last season, opera fans were abuzz over Eric Owens’s “show-stealing turn” in Wagner’s Das Rheingold at the Met (The Washington Post). Hear more Wagner from Owens on this recital, but also a host of repertoire that showcases a gentler side of this astounding bass-baritone. Joining him is Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Music Director Robert Spano, who is also an accomplished pianist.


  • Eric Owens, Bass-Baritone
  • Robert Spano, Piano


  • WOLF Drei Gedichte von Michelangelo
    ·· Wohl denk ich oft
    ·· Alles endet, was entstehet
    ·· Fühlt meine Seele
  • SCHUMANN "Aus den hebräischen Gesängen," Op. 25, No. 15
  • SCHUMANN "Muttertraum," Op. 40, No. 2
  • SCHUMANN "Der Schatzgräber," Op. 45, No. 1
  • SCHUMANN "Melancholie," Op. 74, No. 6
  • SCHUBERT "Prometheus," D. 674
  • SCHUBERT "Fahrt zum Hades," D.526
  • SCHUBERT "Gruppe aus dem Tartarus," D.583
  • DEBUSSY "Beau soir"
  • DEBUSSY "Fleur des blés"
  • DEBUSSY "L'âme évaporée" from Deux romances
  • DUPARC "L’invitation au voyage"
  • DUPARC "La vague et la cloche"
  • RAVEL Don Quichotte à Dulcinée
    ··Chanson romanesque
    ··Chanson épique
    ··Chanson à boire
  • WAGNER "Les deux grenadiers"

  • Encores:
  • PURCELL "Music for a While"
  • COPLAND "At the River"


  • Eric Owens

    American bass-baritone Eric Owens holds a unique place in the contemporary opera world as both an esteemed interpreter of classic works and a champion of new music. Mr. Owen's opened the Metropolitan Opera's 2010-2011 season as Alberich in Wagner's Das Rheingold in a new production by Robert Lepage, conducted by James Levine. The 2010-2011 season also saw Mr. Owens as Ramfis in Aida at San Francisco Opera, and in the title role of Peter Sellars's new Hercules at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

    During 2011-2012, Mr. Owens embarks on a recital tour with pianists Robert Spano and Craig Rutenberg of Berkeley, Portland, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC. He also performed Bach cantatas with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in December. This season, Mr. Owens continues his work in the Metropolitan Opera's Ring cycle,continuing the role of Alberich in Siegfried and Götterdämmerung. He will perform Beethoven's Missa solemnis with the Boston Symphony Orchestra in March at Carnegie Hall. Appearing as Jochanaan in Strauss's Salome with The Cleveland Orchestra, he assumes the role in both Cleveland and at Carnegie Hall in May. Summer 2012 begins with Mr. Owens reprising the role of the Storyteller in A Flowering Tree by John Adams with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. He will continue his summer at the Glimmerglass Festival 2012 as artist-in-residence. There, he will appear in Aida and Lost in the Stars, and will perform a jazz concert.

    Mr. Owens has created a niche for himself in contemporary opera through his determined tackling of new and challenging roles. He was critically acclaimed in the title role for the world premiere of Elliot Goldenthal's Grendel with the Los Angeles Opera in a production directed and designed by Julie Taymor. Mr. Owens also enjoys a close association with John Adams, for whom he created the role of General Leslie Groves in the world premiere of Doctor Atomic at the San Francisco Opera, and of the Storyteller in the world premiere of A Flowering Tree at Peter Sellars's New Crowned Hope Festival in Vienna.

    Mr. Owens has been recognized with multiple awards, including the 2003 Marian Anderson Award, a 1999 ARIA award, and second prize in the Plácido Domingo Operalia Competition, the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and the Luciano Pavarotti International Voice Competition. A native of Philadelphia, Mr. Owens studied voice at Temple University and the Curtis Institute of Music. He currently studies with Armen Boyajian. He serves on the Board of Trustees of both the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts and Astral Artistic Services.

    More Info

  • Robert Spano

    Robert Spano is one of the brightest and most imaginative conductors of his generation. As music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, he has enriched and expanded its repertoire and elevated the ensemble to new levels of international prominence. In 2012, Mr. Spano becomes music director of the Aspen Music Festival and School, and is also a fellow of the Aspen Institute as part of the Harman-Eisner Artist in Residence program.

    Mr. Spano's 2011-2012 engagements include appearances with the Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, West Australian Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Symphony, and Orchestra of St. Luke's. He conducts the Juilliard Orchestra as well as the Curtis Symphony Orchestra in Philadelphia and at the Dresden Music Festival. This spring, he marks the final year of his three-year residency at Emory University, a testament to his communicative abilities and passion for education. In its 165-year history, Emory University has honored only seven other individuals with such expansive residencies, including the Dalai Lama, former President Jimmy Carter, and author Salman Rushdie.

    In October, Mr. Spano conducted Atlanta Symphony Orchestra in the US premiere of Esa-Pekka Salonen's Nyx in Atlanta and at Carnegie Hall. He conducts three world premieres in Atlanta this season: an ASO commission by Atlanta School of Composers member Adam Schoenberg, and works by Alvin Singleton and Marcus Roberts. Mr. Spano oversees two Theater of a Concert performances: Bach's St. Matthew Passion and John Adams's A Flowering Tree.

    With a discography of 16 critically acclaimed recordings for Telarc and Deutsche Grammophon, Mr. Spano has garnered six Grammy Awards. In February 2011, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Naxos created the ASO Media record label; the label's first recording was released in April 2011.

    Musical America's 2008 Conductor of the Year, Mr. Spano is on the faculty of Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and has received honorary doctorates from Bowling Green State University, the Curtis Institute of Music, Emory University, and Oberlin College.

    More Info


Schubert's An Schwager Kronos
Eric Owen, Bass-Baritone
Schubert "Der Atlas"
Eric Owens, Bass-Baritone

At a Glance

Encompassing songs by seven composers in two languages, this program immerses us in the contrasting styles of the German Lied and the French mélodie or chanson. Representing the German tradition are three of its greatest practitioners: Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann, and Hugo Wolf. Schubert essentially established German Lieder as an important art form through his 600 songs, which are astonishing for their enormous emotional range as well as their craftsmanship. His successors Schumann and Wolf both refined the nuances of word-setting and enriched the piano accompaniments so that they often became the thematic leaders.

Overlapping Wolf and moving into the 20th century, Claude Debussy, Henri Duparc, and Maurice Ravel developed more transparent and subtle song styles for the French language. The precise musical coloring of words became supremely important, as well as the creating of an ineffable poetic atmosphere—something at which Duparc especially excelled.

Improbably bridging the two traditions is the program’s last selection: a rarely heard song in French by Richard Wagner. Though the language here is French, the musical style is thoroughly German, despite the prominent use of the “Marseillaise.”
Program Notes


Eric Owens on Devising a Recital Program ... and Robert Spano

This concert and the Pure Voice series are sponsored by the Jean & Jula Goldwurm Memorial Foundation in memory of Jula Goldwurm.