By Francisco Chahín-Casanova
The Hellenic Music Foundation of New York presented last night, in celebration of the bicentennial of Franz Liszt a beautiful concert with Greek tenor Mario Zeffiri, accompanied at the piano by Mtro. Yannis Xilas. The event took place in the Episcopal Church of Christ and St. Stevens, in Manhattan.
Mr. Zeffiri presented an ambitious, well packed program by two authors: Richard Strauss and Franz Liszt.
Mario Zeffiri exhibited unheard of control of his craft from the very beginning to the very end of the evening: the music, text, technique, delivery and style, all concentrated in one action of his mind, which transformed the air which he exhaled into music and the purest expression of vocal art. A veritable Master Class in singing, all of it in context. Because this music is dated, and in the way in which Mr Zeffiri performed it, I dare say that Franz Liszt and Richard Strauss would have smiled approvingly in hearing it performed so beautifully and full of meaning.
None of the sterility of the age of the iPod and computer games was present in his music making ... THANK GOD. No gimmicks or distracting trickery in his presentation, just the text and the music between him and his audience. This things have their place in modern life, but not when it comes to this type of artistic expression... alas...
Mr Zeffiri was assisted ably at the piano by Mtro. Yannis Xilas, who interpreted as well the Intermezzo Op.117, No. 1 by Johannes Brahms, as well as a Nocturne for piano by Claude Debussy.
Finished the program, Mr. Zeffiri generously sang for the audience two encores by Bizet and Rimsky-Korsakov.
At the end the entire audience expressed their satisfaction with a standing ovation for both artists.
Mario Zeffiri, tenor
Yannis Xilas, accompanist
Bicentennial Concert Celebration of Franz Liszt birth
Church of Christ and St. Stevens
RICHARD STRAUSS Zueignung Op. 10, no1
Heimliche Aufforderrung Op. 27, no. 3
Die Nacht Op 10, no. 3
Ständchen Op.17, no. 2
JOHANNES BRAHMS Intermezzo Op117, no. 1 for piano
RICHARD STRAUSS Befreit, Op. 39 no. 4
Breit’ über mein Haupt, Op. 19 no.2
Liebeshymnus Op 32 , no.3
CLAUDE DEBUSSY Nocturne, for piano solo
FRANZ LISZT Tre Sonetti di Petrarca
Pace non trovo
Benedetto sia ‘l giorno
I vidi in terra angelici costume
dedicated to excellence
dedicated to excellence