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Duets  of love,  operas

HANCOCK — Love will be in the air Tuesday, when singers Amy Knight and Tom Cochran, accompanied by pianist Mary Ann Fleming, bring a program titled “Songs of Love and Seduction: An Evening of Illuminated Opera,” to the Hancock Town Library.

Knight, a soprano who lives in Jaffrey, says the pieces they will sing all focus on love in some way.

“We start with a funny duet from the comic opera ‘Don Pasquale’ by Donizetti,” she said on Tuesday. “It’s an argument between a husband and wife, with a fun, romantic twist to it. Anyone who knows this opera knows what that twist is.”

Other pieces on the program include “La ci darem la mano” from Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” a well-known duet in which the womanizing Don Giovanni tries to seduce a young peasant woman on her wedding day, and the duet from Saint-Saëns’ opera “Samson and Delilah,” based on the Old Testament tale of Samson’s downfall brought about by Delilah’s power of seduction.

“In one of the arias, the man is trying to seduce the woman, in the other it’s the woman working to entice the man,” Knight said. “They should be a lot of fun.”

Knight has sung with many local choral groups, including the Monadnock Chorus, the Peterborough Chamber Choir and the Norway Pond Festival Singers. She is currently in the final semester of a certification program in voice at New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.

Cochran, an Antrim resident who works in engineering at Teleflex in Jaffrey, is a bass-baritone. He played baritone horn for year when he was in school, but didn’t really begin singing until he joined the Monadnock Chorus in the 1990s.

“Mozart’s operatic pieces really grabbed me,” he said on Tuesday. “The passion really got me. It was something I had been missing.”

He studied with local teachers Phil Lauriat and Pam Stevens and sang with the Granite State and Raylynmor opera companies and the New England Chamber Choir.

Knight and Cochran got to know each other while singing with the Monadnock Chorus, where they discovered they had similar musical tastes and compatible voices. Knight said they often got together casually to run through arias and duets. They did a recital with Pam Stevens and then were invited to sing at a First Friday open mic night at the Unitarian church in Peterborough. After that performance, Knight said, they were encouraged to put together a full program of songs.

“I thought that might be fun,” Knight said, and they got together with Fleming and started rehearsing.

“This is sort of our debut,” Knight said about the Hancock performance. “We’re really a trio, with Mary Ann having a big part. In addition to singing, we thought it would be interesting to delve into why this music is so much fun to listen to.”

Cochran and Knight will also sing two duets from Mozart’s “The Magic Flute,” which Knight said deal with “the sweetness of idealized love and marriage.” They will each perform solo pieces as well.

“Tom is singing a beautiful aria from Wagner’s “Tannhäuser,” Knight said. “It’s very chivalrous and moving. I will be singing the romantic “Vijla Lied” from Franz Lehár’s operetta “The Merry Widow.”

Cochran said a couple of the pieces are in Italian, others in French and in German.

“Amy is making up translations for a handout,” he said. “It will be easy to follow what’s going on.”

The free program will be held Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Hancock library. For more information, call the library at 525-4411.

Dave Anderson can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 233 or danderson@ledgertranscript.com. He’s on Twitter at @DaveAndersonMLT.

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