Stephanie Blythe to Headline ‘The Real World: The French Cabaret’ at Bard College Conservatory of Music

By Nicolas Quiroga

The Bard College Conservatory of Music and the Graduate Vocal Arts program will  present “The Real World: The French Cabaret” on Nov. 6, 2021.

The concert, which will feature mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe, pianist Kayo Iwama, will benefit the Bard Conservatory Graduate Vocal Arts Scholarship Fund. The program will also feature numerous members of the Graduate Vocal Arts Program and Conservatory Collaborative Piano Fellowship including Michael A. M. Aoun, Bat-Erdene Batbileg, Diana Borscheva, Kirby Burgess, Neilson Chen, Abagael Cheng, Elisa Dagher, Melanie Dubil, Joanne Evas, Maria Giovanetti, Micah Gleason, Sungyeun Kim, Teryn Kuzma, Jonathan Lawlor, Katherine Lerner Lee, Francesca Lionetta, Zihao Liu, Chewon Park, Samantha Martin, Sarah Rauch, Alexis Seminario, Gwyyon Sin, Montana Smith, and Sadie Spivey.

Audiences will hear a wide-range of French cabaret songs by such composers as Jean-Baptise Clément, Michel Legrand, and Charles Baudelaire, among others.

“One of the most important missions of the Bard Conservatory Graduate Vocal Arts Program is to teach the art of communication and collaboration. So it makes perfect sense that on the heels of a worldwide pandemic that took us all out of the public world and cast us into very private and often solitary settings, that we would emerge through the world of French chanson,” Blythe, who is also Artistic Director of the program, said in an official press release. “These extraordinarily popular songs began in the 1880’s with the appearance of the chanson realiste—unapologetically truthful statements about life on the streets of Paris and all the elements that defined those lives—working class poverty, debauchery, sex, crime, and much of it seen through the lens of romantic, smoky cafés and rain soaked, cobblestone streets. Here was found a healthy dose of nostalgia, peppered with wit and charm, as well as a deep sadness and longing, and not a little accordion. These songs are a perfect way to initiate an intimate dialogue with an audience—one that we have been developing even more keenly after such a long, forced separation from all of you. Through the art of the chanson, we see what it means to be fully human, something we have all been taking a hard look at over the last year and a half.”