Justin Austin, baritone 
Howard Watkins, piano 

Longy's Pickman Hall

Praised in Opera News as “a gentle actor and elegant musician” and in The Wall Street Journal for his “mellifluous baritone,” vocalist Justin Austin is quickly making a name for himself on opera, oratorio, musical theatre, and concert stages around the United States and Europe. 

He has appeared in Fire Shut Up in My Bones, Treemonisha, and the musical adaptation of Lynn Nottage’s Intimate Apparel. In concert, he is a featured vocalist in Our Song, Our Story, Damien Sneed’s touring recital program that pays tribute to the artistry of Black composers past and present. 

Austin’s beautifully “burnished” (The New York Times) baritone voice and compelling stage presence make this recital a can’t-miss Boston debut from a young artist who is rapidly scaling the heights of the operatic world. 

Program

I often hear the phrase “Don’t be angry.” 
 
We as a people are encouraged to suppress and even ignore our emotions when it comes to anger. Why? I think it’s because anger can be dangerous, hurtful, harmful, and destructive. But what if we needed to be angry and deal with it in order to not put anyone or ourselves in danger? What if what we really needed was not to never get angry, but to be able to process our anger constructively. What if we needed to sit with our anger and develop a healthy relationship with it. What if it was ok to be angry? In a time in our history where there is so much to be grateful for and yet so much to be angry about, I want to use art as a vehicle to explore anger and give the audience agency to be angry without it being taboo. Many musical performances provide escapism for people who want to temporarily forget about the problems of the world. I think that’s wonderful! My recital “Don’t Be Angry” will not be one of those performances.

Kurt Weill | "Mack the knife" from The Threepenny Opera 
Maurice Ravel | "Chanson à boire" from Don Quichotte
Hugo Wolf | "Herr, was trägt der Boden hier" (No. 9 from Spanisches Liederbuch
Kurt Weill | "O Captain! My Captain!" from Four Walt Whitman songs 
Olaf Bienert | Augen in der grossstadt
Hanns Eisler | Embrace the Fascists
Kurt Weill | "Ballad of the easy life" from The Threepenny Opera

Intermission 

Kurt Weill | "Call to the Grave" / "Death message" from The Threepenny Opera 
Ricky Ian Gordon | "Song for a Dark Girl" from Only Heaven
Ricky Ian Gordon | Marvin Gaye Songs
Robert Owens | Mortal Storm, Op. 29 
Kurt Weill | "Happy Endings" from The Threepenny Opera 

“Vocally impressive, verbally elegant, and duly seductive ”

Opera News

Longy's Pickman Hall Venue Information

This performance is generously supported by
Lisa Kirk Colburn.

The 2023/24 Debut Series is generously supported by
Susanne Marcus Collins Foundation.


This performance is made possible in part by support from Celebrity Series' LIVE PERFORMANCE! Arts for All Innovation Funds.

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