The Lola Williams Recording Project
Sarah Moulton Faux, soprano; Ted Taylor, piano
with Heather Johnson, Laura Krumm, mezzo-sopranos; Nicholas Tamagna, countertenor
Growing up in the South in the first half of the 20th century, Lola Williams (1913-2013) exhibited great musical talent at a time when women rarely were encouraged to compose, and those who did struggled to hear their works performed publicly. Williams was a serious Shakespearean scholar as well as music educator, but it was not until her retirement that she was able to fully dedicate herself to writing and composition.
The resulting program demonstrates Williams’s felicitous pairing of text and music, matching Shakespeare’s inimitable wit and profound verse to painterly/illustrative melodies that are fortunately preserved.
This world-premiere recording features texts from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Love’s Labor’s Lost, The Tempest, Twelfth Night, and Hamlet, as well as Sonnet 116. A rarity is a setting of Shakespeare’s only surviving allegorical poem, The Phoenix and the Turtle.
* * *
Sarah Moulton Faux is stunning. Recorded in beautiful sound and accompanied by an extensive, scholarly booklet note, this is a major release… a true treasure trove. －Fanfare
“a masterfully done and delicious rendering of the composer’s work.” – Kathleen Roland-Silverstein, NATS Journal of Singing
“Sarah Moulton Faux is stunning: her devotion to this music shines through her every syllable…a glorious disc”
“Thank goodness for discoveries such as this, and for performers and record companies brave enough to bring them to our attention….a true treasure trove”
– Colin Clarke, Fanfare Magazine
“Sincerity and depth of feeling mark every item…”
– Huntley Dent, Fanfare Magazine
“Attractive and haunting melodies you will want to revisit… marvelous performances, beautifully executed”
– Ken Meltzer, Fanfare Magazine
PRESS AND INTERVIEWS
“A winsome beauty with a voice to match” (BerkshireFineArts.com), Sarah Moulton Faux has been lauded for her “full, silvery soprano” (Opera News) and “mesmerizing” performances
(Brooklyn Spectator) in repertoire ranging from opera’s most famous heroines to contemporary works to forgotten masterpieces by female composers.
Sarah’s first album Where Should This Music Be? Songs of Lola Williams was produced by 7-time Grammy Award Winner for Classical Music Producer of the Year Judith Sherman, composer Laura Kaminsky and The American Opera Project. It was released by New World Records in 2019. Fanfare Magazine wrote, “Sarah Moulton Faux is stunning: her devotion to this music shines through every syllable…a glorious disc.” For her work on the album, Sarah won The American Prize Ernst Bacon Memorial Award for performance of American music in 2022. Sarah also co-edited Williams’s handwritten manuscripts and created modern editions of her work, published in 2021 under the ClarNan imprint of Classical Vocal Reprints and favorably reviewed by the NATS Journal.
An ardent champion of new work, Sarah received the 2023 Opera America National Trustee Recognition Award for her service as Co-President of the Board of Directors of The American Opera Project, the nation’s leading opera-in-development company. As a singer, she has collaborated with living composers Laura Kaminsky, Dave Longstreth, Kamran Ince, Matthew Harris, Herschel Garfein, Tristan Perich, and Paula Kimper, and was a soloist in the 2020
NYU/Tisch Opera Lab.
Sarah brings a keen intelligence, curatorial lens, and intense passion to her programs and a particular interest in promoting the work of women composers. Along with Ensemble Pi, she helped conceive a staged production, A Room of Her Own, delving into the life of 18th-century composer—and Mozart contemporary—Marianna Martines, which premiered at New York’s Sheen Center. Sarah’s thorough research as a recitalist resulted in evenings built around the attendees of a particular Parisian salon, the secret love lives of composers and tracing the legacy of Spanish music through famous melodies, to name a few. She has performed in recital at the Music Mountain Festival of Falls Village, CT, Artek Midtown Concert Series, and the Norton Museum of Art in Palm Beach, FL. She annually joins acclaimed violinist Junko Ohtsu to present the Summer Roses concert in Southampton, NY, featuring themed programs spanning art song, arias, operetta, and musical theater.
Having made her professional operatic debut in New York City Opera’s acclaimed production of Candide performed at the David H. Koch theater, she has since appeared as Violetta (La Traviata), Gilda (Rigoletto), Susanna (The Marriage of Figaro), Rosina (Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Musetta (La Boheme), Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Lauretta (Gianni Schicchi), Almirena (Rinaldo), Annchen (Der Freischutz), and Rose Maybud (Ruddigore) with companies including Regina Opera Company of Brooklyn, Amore Opera, Utopia Opera, Chelsea Opera, and the International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival. Her performances of Gilda with the Regina Opera “embodied all the piercing lyrical innocence demanded of a moving Gilda with perfect Italian diction.” (Allegri Con Fuoco). In Amore Opera’s Don Giovanni, Sarah “made a bright-eyed, bright-voiced Zerlina” (Opera News).
Sarah performs regularly as a soloist with the Orchestra at Shelter Rock, conducted by Stephen Michael Smith, and appeared most recently in its performances of Handel’s Messiah and Vaughan Williams’s Dona Nobis Pacem. A career highlight was performing Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater opposite countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo with the Symphony in C orchestra and conductor Rossen Milanov, for which she was praised as possessing “a fine sense of Baroque style” (Philadelphia Inquirer) and “sang with agility and thoughtful shape to her phrases” (Courier Post).
Sarah was the 2016 winner of the Best Female Voice Prize at the International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival in Harrogate, UK, for her SavoyNet performance of Princess Zara in Utopia, Limited. Her other Gilbert & Sullivan roles include Rose Maybud (Ruddigore) and Phyllis (Iolanthe), both performed with the Blue Hill Troupe, a New York–based theater company that raises money for New York City charities.
A graduate of Barnard College in Asian & Middle Eastern Studies (magna cum laude/departmental honors), Sarah holds a Master of Music in Vocal Performance & Pedagogy degree with honors from Westminster Choir College. She serves on the Board of Directors of The American Opera Project and the Southampton Cultural Center.
Opera News | Steven Jude Tietjen | January 2014