For baritone Ben Holt, a solo recital is not merely a challenging presentation but a personal affinity with the audience, an opportunity he continually anticipates.
Besides solo voice with orchestral accompaniment and opera, Holt finds the solo recital the most rewarding. "It's the most intimate, the most daring," he says. "Other than the pianist, you're alone -- it's up to the two of you to create the entire environment for each song."
Developing an intimate rapport with the audience constitutes perhaps Holt's purpose for giving a recital. "I want both the audience and I to come out with the feeling of exhilarating fatigue -- knowing that you've been through something and you're awfully glad you did," Holt says. "Then I know that I've tapped the resources, that I've exposed myself, my artistic, spiritual and emotional nakedness."
In choosing a program for a recital Holt believes one should remain with the standard presentation formula, but admits that his program tomorrow night may be a bit unusual, beginning with two folk songs from Britten and Copeland, moving into Schubert and Brahms, and then extracting from Anthony Davis' opera, "X" (The Life and Times of Malcolm X), in which Holt starred in the New York City Opera's world premiere in 1986. "I choose pieces which demonstrate dramatic constrast, active and passive," Holt explains.
Holt's orchestral engagements have included performances with the National Symphony, the New York Philharmonic and the Philadelphia Orchestra, with operatic engagements including roles as Papageno in "The Magic Flute," Falke in "Die Fledermaus" and Ismenor in Rameau's "Dargenus."
Holt spends much of his time lately with the Affiliate Artists' Program giving "Informances," 45-minute informal performances in which the artist not only performs selections from his repertoire but also comments on his life, his career and his art. "They give exposure to the audience and give me a continual emotional and artistic grounding," Holt says. "They remind me that what I'm doing is for everybody."
The performance tomorrow night begins at 7:30 For more information, call the Kennedy Center at 254-9895.