Performance Friday, April 10, 2015 | 7:30 PM

Karen Cargill
Simon Lepper

Weill Recital Hall
“Here, finally, was a singer who could control multiple dimensions, singing with fervent intensity …” wrote The New York Times of mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill. She brings her intensity and “sumptuous voice” (The Guardian) to a program of German songs that include Mahler’s emotional Rückert Lieder and Wagner’s ardent Wesendonck Lieder, composed while he was working on his opera Tristan und Isolde.

Part of Salon Encores.


  • Karen Cargill, Mezzo-Soprano
    New York Recital Debut
  • Simon Lepper, Piano


  • A. MAHLER Fünf Lieder
  • MAHLER Rückert Lieder
  • WAGNER Wesendonck Lieder
  • GRIEG Six Lieder, Op. 48

  • Encores:
  • KENNEDY-FRASER "An Eriskay Love Lilt" from The Songs of the Hebrides
  • BRITTEN "When You Feel Like Expressing Your Affection"


  • Karen Cargill 

    Scottish mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill studied at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, University of Toronto, and National Opera Studio in London. She has appeared with pianist Simon Lepper at venues that include theJohn F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Artsin Washington, DC, London's Wigmore Hall, and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, as well as on regular recital broadcasts for the BBC. Ms. Cargill is the recipient of the 2002 Kathleen Ferrier Award, and she recently recorded a critically acclaimed recital of lieder by Alma and Gustav Mahler for Linn Records with Mr. Lepper.

    Ms. Cargill has sung Waltraute in Götterdämmerung and Magdalena in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg with the Metropolitan Opera.Future roles include Waltraute with the Canadian Opera Company and her return to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and English National Opera.

    Performances during Ms. Cargill's2014-2015 season include Bach's St. Matthew Passion and Handel's Messiah with The Philadelphia Orchestra; Berlioz's Les nuits d'été with The Cleveland Orchestra; Elgar's Sea Pictures, Op. 37, with theStaatskapelle Dresden; Mahler's Symphony No. 4 and Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the London Symphony Orchestra; Wagner's Wesendonck Lieder with the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra; Mahler's Symphony No. 4, Kindertotenlieder, and Das Lied von der Erde conducted by Robin Ticciati; and the Wesendonck Lieder conducted by Emmanuel Krivine with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Ms. Cargill will also make her debut at the Salzburg Festival this season.

    Ms. Cargill regularly sings with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, Berliner Philharmoniker, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, London Symphony Orchestra, and London Philharmonic Orchestra. She has worked with conductors such as James Levine, Donald Runnicles, Valery Gergiev, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Myung-Whun Chung, Bernard Haitink, and Sir Simon Rattle. 

    More Info

  • Simon Lepper 

    Simon Lepper studied music at King's College, Cambridge, and is a professor of piano accompaniment at London's Royal College of Music. He is an official accompanist for the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition.

    Future performance highlights include a recital of English song with Sally Matthews at La Monnaie in Brussels; a performance of Schubert's Die schöne Müllerin with Benjamin Appl; a recital with Nicole Cabell for the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and BBC Radio; and a performance of Schubert's Winterreise with Mark Padmore for the Schubertiade Schwarzenberg.

    Recent performance highlights have included a recital with Karen Cargill at theJohn F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Artsin Washington, DC; an invitation from London's Wigmore Hall to present a three-concert project on the songs of Joseph Marx during the 2013-2014 season; a recital tour with Stéphane Degout that included the Ravinia and Edinburgh festivals; a recording with Dame Felicity Palmer; and recitals with Angelika Kirchschlager at La Monnaie and Wigmore Hall, where Mr. Lepper has also appeared in recital with Christopher Maltman, Elizabeth Watts, Stephan Loges, Sophie Bevan, Christopher Purves, and Lawrence Zazzo.

    Recordings include Peter Warlock songs with Andrew Kennedy (Landor Records); two volumes of Debussy songs with Gillian Keith (Deux-Elles); the completeCharles Wilfred Orrsongs with Mark Stone (Stone Records); a recording of songs by Gustav and Alma Mahler with Karen Cargill (Linn Records); a contemporary recording with violinist Carolin Widmann (ECM Records); and a collection of works by Brahms, Schubert, and Beethoven with violinist Ji-Hae Park (Universal Records).

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At a Glance

The songs on this evening’s program were inspired by each composer’s relationship with a beloved woman. Gustav Mahler is well known as a powerful composer of lieder, but few are aware of his wife Alma’s talents as a composer. Afraid of competition within his own household, Gustav forbade Alma from composing once they were married. Nearly a decade later, he realized the error of his ways and helped her publish the five songs on this evening’s program, which reveal Alma’s passionate and original musical response to poetry. Lyric soprano Nina Hagerup inspired Edvard Grieg to write more than 180 songs; Grieg confessed that he might never have become a song composer if he hadn’t met and married her. This evening we hear six songs that he composed to verse by notable German poets. We also hear lieder by Richard Wagner, whose emotional affair with Mathilde Wesendonck inspired both his opera Tristan und Isolde and the sumptuous Wesendonck Lieder, which Wagner set to Wesendonck’s romantic verse.
Program Notes
This performance is part of Great Singers III: Evenings of Song.

Part of