Department of Music to Host Original One-Man Show



Sept. 7, 2009 – The Department of Music at Southeast Missouri State University will present “Écoute: pieces of Reynaldo Hahn,” performed by visiting artist and Penn State voice professor Dr. Norman Spivey, at 7:30 p.m., Sept. 21 in the Robert F. and Gertrude L. Shuck Music Recital Hall at the University’s River Campus.

This original one-man show on the life and music of French composer Reynaldo Hahn celebrates the inspirations of Hahn’s music and draws on Hahn’s experiences and relationships, particularly those with his closest friends, actress Sarah Bernhardt and writer Marcel Proust, with whom he shared a lifelong friendship following their passionate affair. The performance moves between text, music and poetry to evoke not only a singular composer, but also an era when cultures were defined by their artists. 

“Écoute: pieces of Reynaldo Hahn” began touring in theatres, music conservatories and universities around the country earlier this year and has been invited to be part of an upcoming off-Broadway reading series in New York. The show also will be featured at the 2010 meeting of the National Association of Teachers of Singing in Salt Lake City.

Spivey, a veteran of musicals, operetta and opera, earned degrees from Southeastern Louisiana University, the University of North Texas and the University of Michigan. A Fulbright grant to Paris, where he worked with renowned baritones Gabriel Bacquier and Gérard Souzay, led to concert and opera engagements throughout France, as well as a tour of France and Canada as Papageno in Mozart’s “The Magic Flute.” He has sung Schubert’s song cycle “Winterreise” at Carnegie Hall’s Weill Recital Hall and performed the American premiere of Poulenc’s rediscovered “Quatre Poèmes de Max Jacob.” Spivey has received fellowships from the Aspen Music Festival and the Institute for Advanced Vocal Studies in Paris. In 2003 he received the prestigious Van L. Lawrence Fellowship awarded jointly by The Voice Foundation and the National Association of Teachers of Singing.

The playwright, Susan Russell, is on the theatre faculty at Penn State. Her works “Olympia” (1998) and “Present Perfect” (1999) have been produced by the Emerging Artists Theatre Company in New York City. In 2000, Lincoln Center selected “Present Perfect” for its Millennium Living Room Festival. Russell’s play “Severe Clear” was a semi-finalist in the 2006 O’Neill Theatre Center Playwriting Competition, and in 2007 she created “Cultural Conversations: A New Works Festival,” which is devoted to promoting and fostering new plays dealing with topics of global and local diversity.

Reynaldo Hahn (1875-1947), an extraordinary French composer, pianist, singer, music critic, conductor and impresario, has been called the musician of the Belle Époque era. Hahn entered the conservatory in Paris at age 10, and wrote many of his most enduring melodies during his teen years.

Tickets may be purchased at the River Campus Box Office, located in the Cultural Arts Center, 518 S. Fountain St., weekdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., or by calling (573) 651-2265. Tickets also may be purchased at any MetroTix outlet, online at, keyword Spivey, or by calling toll-free: (800) 293-5949.