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Tenor’s voice ‘settles in’

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Singer celebrates 30th birthday, his ‘solidified technique’

Tenor Paul Appleby celebrated his 30th birthday in Santa Fe while singing the role of Fritz in the Santa Fe Opera’s production of “The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein.” This milestone felt particularly rewarding.

“The tenor’s voice settles in by the age of 30,” said Appleby. “During one’s 20s, the voice is still growing. My voice and technique feel solidified, and that’s a welcome thing.”

While Appleby loves singing opera, he’s also passionate about recital work. “Opera came later for me,” he added. “A big part of what I’ve done is songs. The majority of my time on stage has been doing songs.”

Appleby kicks off the Santa Fe Concert Association’s Festival of Song at the Scottish Rite Center in Santa Fe next Sunday. He presents songs by Franz Schubert, Johannes Brahms, Richard Strauss and Pyotr Ilich Tchaikovsky and is accompanied by the Santa Fe Concert Association’s artistic director Joseph Illick.

“I listened to a lot of songs from the tenor repertoire before putting the program together,” Appleby explained. “There’s so much diversity among languages and cultures. Tenors also can sing some songs meant for female voices. Usually what I find when preparing a recital is that I get stuck on one piece that I really want to sing. Then I look for other pieces that work well with it.”

The piece Appleby got stuck on for the Aug. 11 recital is Benjamin Britten’s Serenata for Tenor, Horn and Strings. He’s performing the work with the New York Philharmonic in November.

“Since this piece is a serenade, I thought I would sing a bunch of serenades,” he said. “In this case, it works well. There’s a wonderful variety to the music on the program. I’ve performed five of the songs before and have had my eye on the other ones.”

The Festival of Song continues on Aug. 14 with tenor Michael Fabiano and Illick at the piano. During his recital he sings works by Henri Duparc, Strauss, Giacomo Puccini and Paolo Tosti.

Composer and pianist Jake Heggie collaborates with soprano Heidi Stober, mezzo-soprano Susanne Mentzer, tenor William Burden, flutist Jennifer Lau and cellist Sally Guenther to present art songs on Aug. 18.