Music Department Hosts Faculty Performance Tonight

Posted: October 3, 2003 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Cheryl Nalbach

Soprano Laura Mann, adjunct professor of voice, presents “The White Cliffs” by composer Natalia Raigorodsky in the Harris Theatre tonight at 8 p.m. The performance is free and open to the public. “The White Cliffs” is inspired by a 1940 poem by Alice Duer Miller and was later made into a 1944 movie with Irene Dunne.

Raigorodsky skillfully blends poetry with theater and opera in a one-woman show. Mann takes the audience on an evocative musical journey to the past. She sings of a woman’s love for her husband, killed in World War I, and her love for England–her adopted country–as she faces the possible fate of her only son entering World War II.

The story is told in retrospect when American Susan Donne, played by Mann, returns to England in 1940. As she sifts through an old wooden chest filled with mementos and photos, she relives her life with her husband–their courtship, marriage, the birth of their son, and the death of her husband’s brother Percy in World War I. Through poetry and song, the audience begins to see the photos as vividly as she sees them. Mann’s operatic performance delivers an emotional reminiscence, depicting love of country, family, and the sacrifices we make.

Mann has sung in more than 40 operas and operettas in both the United States and Europe. She has appeared in international festivals and as a soloist with many prestigious orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, Swiss Chamber Orchestra, Prague Chamber Ensemble, Rochester, and Buffalo Philharmonic, Richmond, Oklahoma City, and Asheville Symphonies, and the Dallas Baroque Ensemble. She has been a soloist at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall and is frequently featured on embassy and museum recital series.

Raigorodsky is a graduate of Barnard College and has a master’s degree in music from American University. She is a former music critic and lecturer on American music and is listed in “Who’s Who in American Music, Classical.” She has composed more than 135 works, including 2 symphonies, 7 large choral works, 100 sacred solo songs and organ preludes, and numerous chamber works.

Accompanying Mann will be pianist Susan Ricci and flutist Katherine Sekula. For more information, contact the Department of Music at (703) 993-1390.

Write to at