An evening of popular Neapolitan songs can be just as ambitious for a tenor as performing a full opera, says acclaimed opera singer Alex Richardson, who is back in Las Cruces to perform just such a concert with the Las Cruces Symphony Orchestra this weekend. “To do eight long and big pieces all in a row, that’s kind of operatic in itself – just the stamina to get through those songs,” he told Intermezzo host Leora Zeitlin in the KRWG studios. And, he adds, “each one is poetry with a story to tell,” requiring the singer to assume a variety of characters during the concert. “The text is very, very important. These songs – the melodies could be written but they wouldn’t be anything without the text.”
Richardson will have his fourth season with the Metropolitan Opera this spring, in addition to keeping a busy schedule with recitals and performances with orchestras. “I love going to work [at the Met]. It’s not just the singers and orchestra,” he said, who are the top in their fields, “but also the costume department, and the carpenters, and the set designers, and the lighting designers, and the stage hands. That building runs 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” including crews working through the night. “It takes a tremendous amount of organization.” The 1996 Las Cruces High graduate noted that his training as a New Mexico state champion diver during his teen years helped prepare him for a music career “in surprising ways.”
Lonnie Klein will conduct the LCSO concerts this weekend, which take place on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. at the Atkinson Recital Hall. The orchestra will also perform music from Tchaikovsky’s ballet, “Sleeping Beauty.”
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