Performance Tuesday, October 29, 2013 | 7:30 PM

Jessica Rivera
Kelley O'Connor
Robert Spano

Zankel Hall
Dynamic darlings Jessica Rivera and Kelley O’Connor have received critical acclaim for their interpretive collaborations on some of the most renowned masterpieces of today, including Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar and John Adams’s El Niño, as well as numerous concert performances of more traditional fare. The pair unites again to showcase their overall artistic excellence in a not-to-be-missed recital that features New York premieres by inventive composers David Bruce and Jonathan Leshnoff.

The contemporary works on this program are part of My Time, My Music.


  • Jessica Rivera, Soprano
  • Kelley O'Connor, Mezzo-Soprano
  • Robert Spano, Piano


  • SAINT-SAËNS "El desdichado"
  • DEBUSSY Chansons de Bilitis
  • JONATHAN LESHNOFF Monica Songs (NY Premiere, co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall)
  • GOUNOD "La siesta"
  • MENDELSSOHN "Volkslied," Op. 63, No. 5
  • MENDELSSOHN "Ich wollt' meine Lieb'," Op. 63, No. 1
  • DAVID BRUCE That Time with You (NY Premiere, co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall)
  • MOMPOU Combat del Somni
  • GABRIELA LENA FRANK Selections from The Kitchen Songbook (NY Premiere)
    ·· "Honey"
    ·· "Sofrito"

  • Encore:
  • HUMPERDINCK "Prayer" from Hansel and Gretel

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.


  • Jessica Rivera

    Jessica Rivera is established as one of the most creatively inspired vocal artists before the public today. The intelligence, dimension, and spirituality with which she infuses her performances on the great international concert and opera stages has garnered Ms. Rivera unique artistic collaborations with many of today's most celebrated composers, including John Adams, Gabriela Lena Frank, Osvaldo Golijov, Jonathan Leshnoff, and Nico Muhly, and has brought her together in collaboration with such esteemed conductors as Bernard Haitink, Sir Simon Rattle, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Robert Spano, and Michael Tilson Thomas.

    Ms. Rivera was heralded in the world premiere of John Adams's opera A Flowering Tree, singing the role of Kumudha in a production directed by Peter Sellars as part of Vienna's New Crowned Hope Festival. She has performed A Flowering Tree for her debut with the Berliner Philharmoniker with Sir Simon Rattle and, under the composer's baton, with the Cincinnati Opera, San Francisco Symphony, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orchestra of St. Luke's at Lincoln Center, and London Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican. The London performances were recorded and are commercially available on Nonesuch Records.

    Ms. Rivera has sung Kitty Oppenheimer in John Adams's Doctor Atomic with De Nederlandse Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, and Finnish National Opera, and she has given concert performances with Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Her portrayal of Kitty Oppenheimer was captured in Amsterdam and is commercially available on DVD on the BBC / Opus Arte label.

    Ms. Rivera's 2013-2014 season features Donnacha Dennehy's That the Night Come with Miguel Harth-Bedoya and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra; Golijov's La Pasión según San Marcos with Robert Spano and the Boston Symphony Orchestra; Mark Grey's Fire Angels, Mahler's Fourth Symphony, and Vaughan Williams's Dona nobis pacem with Mr. Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra; Philip Glass's the CIVIL warS with Grant Gershon and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Mozart's Requiem with David Robertson and The Cleveland Orchestra.

    Committed to the art of recital, Ms. Rivera has performed in concert halls in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Santa Fe, among others. She was deeply honored to perform a Carnegie Hall-commissioned world premiere of a song cycle by Nico Muhly called The Adulteress on the occasion of her Weill Recital Hall performance.

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  • Kelley O'Connor

    Possessing a voice of uncommon allure, musical sophistication far beyond her years, and intuitive and innate dramatic artistry, Grammy Award-winning mezzo-soprano Kelley O'Connor has emerged as one of the most compelling performers of her generation. During the 2013-2014 season, the California native's impressive calendar includes John Adams's The Gospel According to the Other Mary with Grant Gershon conducting the Ravinia Festival Orchestra, the world premiere of John Harbison's Crossroads with The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra conducted by Edo de Waart, Peter Lieberson's Neruda Songs with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and Joana Carneiro, and Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with Alan Gilbert and the New York Philharmonic. Ms. O'Connor joins Franz Welser-Möst and The Cleveland Orchestra for an international tour of Beethoven's Mass in C, a work that also serves for her return to the San Francisco Symphony under the baton of Michael Tilson Thomas. She collaborates with Vladimir Jurowski for the first time in performances of Adams's El Niño with the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Ms. O'Connor returns to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra for Brahms's Alto Rhapsody led by Donald Runnicles, as well as to the National Symphony Orchestra in performances of El amor brujo conducted by venerable Spanish Maestro Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos.

    Highlights of recent seasons include performances of Ravel's Shéhérazade with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia Orchestra at the Edinburgh International Festival, Bach's St. Matthew Passion with Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Stravinsky's Les noces with David Robertson and the St. Louis Symphony, Mahler's Symphony No. 2 with Donald Runnicles and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Elgar's Sea Pictures and Britten's Spring Symphony with Edward Gardner and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Mozart's Requiem with Louis Langrée and the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, and with Iván Fischer leading Orchestra of St. Luke's at Carnegie Hall. Ms. O'Connor's highlights in opera include role debuts as Suzuki in Madama Butterfly at Boston Lyric Opera, Ursule in Berlioz's Béatrice et Bénédict at Opera Boston, and Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and Canadian Opera Company.

    Her discography includes Lieberson's Neruda Songs and Golijov's Ainadamar with Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, as well as Beethoven's Ninth Symphony with Franz Welser-Möst and The Cleveland Orchestra for Deutsche Grammophon.

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  • Robert Spano

    Conductor, pianist, composer, and pedagogue Robert Spano is one of the most imaginative talents of his generation. Serving Atlanta as music director of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra since 2001, he has created a sense of inclusion, warmth, and community that is unique among American orchestras. As music director of the Aspen Music Festival and School, he oversees the programming of more than 300 events and educational programs for 630 students, including Aspen's American Academy of Conducting.

    Mr. Spano will make three appearances at Carnegie Hall this season in varied programming. This is the fourth consecutive season in which Maestro Spano has been presented by the prestigious venue in more than one medium-and will mark the eighth time that he leads his Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in Carnegie Hall's Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage. Additional guest appearances are with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, Tampere Philharmonic Orchestra, and two weeks of performances with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Spano is also an artistic curator at the Ojai Music Festival for a second season in June 2014. In addition to his work on the podium and at the piano, Mr. Spano has continued to focus on composition. In November 2013, ASO Media will release a digital recording of Mr. Spano's solo piano work, under water, and a cycle of five songs written for soprano Jessica Rivera.

    With a discography of critically acclaimed recordings for Telarc, Deutsche Grammophon, and ASO Media recorded over nine years, Mr. Spano has won six Grammy Awards with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Musical America's 2008 Conductor of the Year, he is on the faculty of Oberlin Conservatory, and has received honorary doctorates from Bowling Green State University, Curtis Institute of Music, Emory University, and Oberlin. Mr. Spano was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame in 2012 and is proud to live in Atlanta.

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Osvaldo Golijov's La Pasión según San Marcos ("Lúa descolorida")
Jessica Rivera, Soprano | L. Mark Carver, Piano

At a Glance

This evening's recital combines traditional solo songs and duets with commissions written expressly for the artists on stage. Several of these works exhibit Spanish or Latin American influence (in both language of the text and style of the music), but all of them explore—in both subtle and overt ways—the relationships in our lives: those between lovers, parents and children, the living and the deceased, and with ourselves. These connections, like the harmonies that depict them tonight, range from very traditional to contemporary and from charming to sensual.
Program Notes
Lead support for Carnegie Hall commissions is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
This concert and the Pure Voice series are sponsored by the Jean & Jula Goldwurm Memorial Foundation in memory of Jula Goldwurm.

Part of