Sam Houston State University’s School of Music held a faculty recital recently at the James and Nancy Gaertner Performing Arts Center recital hall.
Assistant Professor of Voice and Coordinator of Vocal Studies Nicole Asel starred in the recital where she presented “Songs of Love and Loss” in front of a full house.
Asel sang in mezzo-soprano, and Saule Garcia was on piano. The songs performed were in German, French and English.
The recital consisted of a cycle of eight classical poems from “Frauenliebe und Leben” by Robert Schumann and another eight songs by Hector Berlioz and Rufus Wainwright.
“Tonight, there is what’s called a song cycle which is a story from beginning to end,” Asel said. “I like to tell stories through music.”
The first eight songs told a story about a woman who falls in love.
“It’s a woman who meets this man who she doesn’t think she could ever be with and they end up getting married, but he dies.” Asel said.
The recital began with the inspiration to bring the woman from “Frauenliebe und Leben” to life with song and movement.
Dancers and projections helped the audience follow the story. As Asel sang, the dancers moved around the stage— telling the story of the man and woman falling in love.
“It’s fun because you get to go on a journey,” Asel said.
Her favorite performance piece was “Nun hast du mir den ersten Schmerz” which roughly translates to “Now thou hast given me, for the first time, pain.”
“It goes from absolute ecstasy and glory to shattered life,” Asel said.
The more modern pieces she performed by Rufus Wainwright were selections from “Songs for Lulu” including “Who Are You, New York?” and “The Dream.”
“I like to sing pieces that are between classical and popular music,” Asel said.
She has been singing since she was 14 years old.
“I just joined choir in high school and started taking private voice lessons when I was 16,” Asel said.
This is Asel’s third year at SHSU. She teaches private voice lessons for voice majors. In the fall, Asel teaches a class called Italian Diction and will teach Opera Workshop in the spring.