Mezzo-Soprano Aims to Break MTV Mold
Posted on Monday, November 16, 2009 [7:37 AM]
Laura Atkinson rehearses Bach's B-Minor Mass
before a performance in Seoul, South Korea.
COLUMBIA, Ky. -- Call her Laura Atkinson,
operatic tour guide and MTV rebel.
The Yale-trained mezzo-soprano plans to take her listeners on an
operatic journey around the world Friday night at Lindsey Wilson
She will perform 7 p.m. CT Friday, Nov. 20, in the Lindsey
Wilson W.W. Slider Humanities Center Recital Hall. The recital --
which is part of the 2009-10 Lindsey Wilson Cultural Affairs Series
-- is free and open to the public.
Atkinson's goal is "to expand the horizons of
both the community and students in order to show that there are
more diverse musical genres in the world than those given to us by
the radio and television," said her younger sister, Molly, who is a
Lindsey Wilson senior.
Laura also seeks to break the MTV mold, in the community and on
college campuses, Molly said.
The arrangements Atkinson will perform will include
spirituals and Broadway musicals, along with more traditional opera
fare from around the world.
"Spirituals came from slavery," Molly said. "It's
important for not only the immediate community but the country as a
whole to connect with the past as much as possible."
The Broadway musical songs "allow people to escape from the
reality of life and believe in something better for themselves and
others," Molly said.
Laura earned a bachelor of music education degree with
concentration in voice from Maryville (Tenn.) College, and she is a
recent graduate of Yale's master of music degree program in vocal
performance. While a student at the Institute of Sacred Music at
Yale, she studied with the American lyric tenor, James Taylor. Upon
graduation from the institute, she was awarded the inaugural Margot
Fassler Award for the Excellence in Performance of Sacred
She toured Bach's B-Minor Mass throughout China
and South Korea. With the Yale Baroque Opera Project, she sang the
lead role of Medea in Cavalli's Il Giasone, for which she
received favorable review in The New Yorker.
Friday night will be a departure for Laura Atkinson. For one,
she will sing in English rather than one of the romance
"As a singer it is somewhat rare that I get to perform in
English -- I sing more often in Latin, German or Italian," she
said. "I am from Kentucky, and love our musical heritage, so I
decided to do a recital that would highlight some contemporary
settings of folk music from this region and from across America. I
will be singing songs by composers who are famous in the music
world for their own compositions, but who have set some of these
traditional folksongs and spirituals in an intricate and beautiful
Molly is philosophical about her sister's work.
"If she's able to reach just one member of the community or
student body and open their eyes to a wider world of musical
influences, then she will have achieved one of the goals of the
cultural event series," she said.
The Atkinson sisters grew up in Louisville, Ky. For Molly,
having a sister in the spotlight has influenced her to pursue her
own love of music and singing. She is president this year of the
Lindsey Wilson Singers and is a member of the Lindsey Wilson
Friday evening's recital will also be something of a reunion for
the Atkinson sisters. Molly said she doesn't get to see her sister
as often as she would like because Laura is pursuing a singing
career in venues across America and Europe.
"I'm excited to see my sister; so we can spend some time
together," Molly said. "She hasn't met all of my friends or been to
campus since she helped me move in freshman year."
Mezzo-soprano Laura Atkinson will perform 7 p.m. CT Friday,
Nov. 20, in the Lindsey Wilson College W.W. Slider Humanities
Center Recital Hall. It is free and open to the public. For more
information, contact Cultural Affairs Chair Phil Hanna at
firstname.lastname@example.org or (270) 384-8250.