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The USC Symphony Orchestra presents "Poems and Songs" on March 22

Mezzo-soprano Janet Hopkins and USC Concerto-Aria Winners take the stage

The Washington Post called 16-year veteran of the New York Metropolitan Opera, Janet Hopkins, “angel-voiced.” Hopkins, associate professor of voice at USC, will sing Vaughan Williams’ "Four Last Songs" and Gustav Mahler’s "Rückert-Lieder."

Poems and Songs takes place at the Koger Center for the Arts on Tuesday, March 22 at 7:30 p.m.

Gustav Mahler brings Friedrich Rückert’s poems to life with his luxuriant melodic setting for "Rückert-Lieder." Rückert wrote beautiful examples of German lyric romantic poems that Mahler collected for this set of songs. Ralph Vaughn Williams sets the texts of "Four Last Songs" – poems written by his wife Ursula who penned several books of poetry throughout her lifetime as well as a biography of her late husband. "Procris" and "Menelaus" deal with figures from ancient Greek and Roman mythology and epic poetry while "Tired" and "Hands, Eyes, and Heart" depict images of love between a husband and wife.

Janet Hopkins, associate professor of voice at the University of South Carolina, debuted as a soprano at The Metropolitan Opera during the 1991-1992 season in The Ghost of Versailles, returning during the next seasons for Siegrune in Die Walküre, Parsifal and The Overseer in Elektra. While on tour with The Met in Japan, she sang a series of solo recitals in Tokyo, garnering extensive critical acclaim.

As a mezzo-soprano, Hopkins sang Così fan Tutte with the Eugene Opera and served apprenticeships with the Michigan Opera Theatre and Des Moines Metro Opera. While making her vocal change, Hopkins was awarded grants and prizes from The Luciano Pavarotti International Voice Competition, the American Opera Auditions and the Wagner Society Grant along with a study grant from the Singers Development Fund of The Metropolitan Opera. In addition to touring extensively with The Met, she has performed in Japan, throughout Europe and the U.S. and has appeared at Carnegie Hall and at the opening ceremonies of the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, NY.

Winners of the University of South Carolina Concerto–Aria Competition also perform on this concert and USC students pursuing their doctorate in conducting take the stage.

The Program

Franz Schubert- Overture to Rosamunde, Erik Garriott, conductor
Claude Debussy- Première rapsodie, Concerto-Aria Winner Jake Mann, clarinet; Inmo Kang, conductor
Jean Sibelius- Violin Concerto in D minor, op. 47, Concerto-Aria Winner Liangjun Zhou, violin; Eunseok Seo, conductor
Gustav Mahler- Rückert-Lieder, Janet Hopkins, mezzo-soprano
Ralph Vaughan Williams- Four Last Songs, Janet Hopkins, mezzo-soprano

Tickets on sale now

$30 general public
$25 seniors, USC faculty and staff
$8 students
Call 803-251-2222 or Koger Box Office, corner of Greene and Park Streets (M-F 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) or online at

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