Annual Summer Yiddish Concert
Featuring Anthony Russell
With special guest Kyra Folk-Farber
African-American by birth and Jewish by choice, Anthony (Mordechai Tzvi) Russell has been hailed as “the new voice of Yiddish song” (Huffington Post). Trained as an operatic bass, Russell has more recently discovered in Yiddish art song an ideal canvas for the expression of his own multifaceted identity. He has deeply immersed himself in the recital repertoire of the famed Sidor Belarsky (1898-1975), one of the 20th century’s most celebrated and prolific performers of cantorial music, Chassidic nigunim, and Yiddish folk songs. Striving in his interpretations to “embody the aspirations, desires and struggles of one diaspora culture enriched with the colours and experiences of another,” Russell’s rich basso cantante evokes Paul Robeson as much as Belarsky himself. His earnest and heartfelt interpretations reveal the narrative, melodic, and cultural riches of a timeless repertoire, now given refreshing new life by an emerging talent. Returning to Toronto after his show-stopping appearance at the 2012 Ashkenaz Festival, Russell will be joined by special guest Kyra Folk-Farber, another fresh new voice in the world of contemporary Yiddish music.
Originally from Vancouver, soprano Kyra Folk-Farber (www.kyrafolk-farber.com) is establishing herself as an exciting and versatile young artist, who has performed in Canada, the U.S. and Europe, in opera, oratorio, new music, and Yiddish concerts. Kyra appeared at the 2012 Ashkenaz Festival in “The Yiddish Songs of Arkady Gendler” as part of an ensemble that included Christian Dawid and Marilyn Lerner. More recently she has done guest turns with the Toronto Jewish Folk Choir, and with the ARC (Artists of the Royal Conservatory) Ensemble. Holding a doctorate in vocal performance from the Université de Montréal and a bachelor’s from the New England Conservatory in Boston. Kyra Folk-Farber received the 2011 grant from the Jacqueline Desmarais Foundation for Young Canadian Opera Singers, and the 2011 Ben Steinberg Musical Legacy Award.
Co-presented by the Committee For Yiddish of UJA Federation, and in association with Moses Znaimer’s IdeaCity Conference.