The Gloriana Singers of George Mason University boast a repertoire covering some five centuries, from the Renaissance to the 20th century. Last night at the university's Harris Theatre, this octet exhibited a small part of its diversity in a program dominated by Elizabethan madrigals and Schumann's ultra-Romantic "Spanisches Liederspiel, Op. 74."
Under the direction of James G. Smith (who lent his voice on a number of occasions), they moved back and forth among styles and periods with uncommon ease, mixing an array of brisk secular songs with sacred pieces. Giovanni Colonna's "Parto, o bella" featured soprano Carolyn Dill and mezzo-soprano Linda Allison, both of whom obviously possess the strongest and most affective voices in the group. Another significant contributor, soprano Cynthia Krombholz, displayed an impressive lower register in John Dowland's "Flow, My Tears."
Schumann's "Spanisches Liederspiel," a collection of unabashed love declarations, gave six of the eight members a chance in the spotlight. Dill evinced her vocal strength, alone in the D Minor lament of "Melancholie," with tenor Mark Weaver in the sorrowful "In the Night" and in a duet ("Message") with Linda Allison.
Keyboardist Ina Nacev Allen provided sparkling accompaniment throughout the performance. Her harpsichord lines were particularly graceful in the Dowland selections, while her assured touch on piano enlivened the Schumann cycle.