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Bernarda Fink to perform “kaleidoscope” of favorite works

Mezzo-soprano's recital program draws on Latin and Slavic roots
November 5, 2019

Bernarda Fink

Mezzo-soprano Bernarda Fink was born in Argentina to Slovenian parents. Her world, growing up, was a mix of cultures. Fink’s father often sang songs by Austrian composer Franz Schubert in the house, and Czech composer Antonín Dvořák’s music is “part of my Slavic roots,” Fink said. At the same time, Argentine composer Carlos Guastavino’s work is “mother earth,” a musical home as much as any other.

This semester, Fink’s physical home is here in New Haven. She’s serving as Visiting Lecturer in Voice (a joint appointment with the Yale Institute of Sacred Music) at a time when her career focus is shifting to include more teaching and a bit less performing. “I am in the privileged time,” she said, a career point at which she can share her experiences with younger artists and learn anew from them. “It is amazing how much we can learn from teaching and from knowing different personalities and different young people searching for themselves,” she said. “You rediscover things you know and forgot. It is a beautiful experience.”

While she’s performing less than she has in previous years, Fink remains a fixture on the concert stage, one whom The New York Times has described as “a master of the disarming, deceptive simplicity of the song recital.” On Friday, Fink will perform a program she described as “a kaleidoscope of all my most precious pieces.” The program, with pianist Anthony Spiri, includes music by Schubert, Dvořák, Guastavino, Austrian composer Hugo Wolf, and Spanish composer Joaquín Rodrigo.

While on paper the program looks long, Fink said it’s on the shorter side, a reflection of her shifting career focus. If there’s one thing Fink wants from an audience it’s “that they come with open hearts.” An artist “has to have empathy for different music types,” she said. The same goes for concertgoers.

Mezzo-soprano Bernarda Fink will perform music by Schubert, Wolf, Dvořák, Rodrigo, and Guastavino, with pianist Anthony Spiri, on Friday, Nov. 8, at 7:30 p.m. in Morse Recital Hall. 

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