Star soprano Sarah Jane McMahon returns to Touro
Renowned soprano Sarah Jane McMahon, a New Orleans native and Loyola University School of Music graduate, returns to Touro Synagogue this Friday night in another program of works by Jewish composers. McMahon, who has sung with and been a protege of Placido Domingo, will share the evening with tenor Taylor Miller and music historian George Dansker. Dansker is the organizer of this program, which follows four earlier concerts featuring the works of Kurt Weill, Leonard Bernstein, George Gershwin and a program on Irina Mishura’s Jewish songs. The subject of Friday’s hour-long concert will be American songbook and Broadway composer Irving Berlin and is titled “Count Your Blessings: The Music of Irving Berlin.” McMahon has sung on all but the Mishura program, but since it was the weekend of her wedding, she felt justified in missing that concert. The concert is scheduled to begin at 7:15 p.m. following regular worship services in the Touro main sanctuary.
“It’s been real successful in the past,” McMahon said in an exclusive CCJN interview. “People really enjoy it and I am happy to be doing it again.” McMahon will be singing four solo selections and a duet with Miller. They will be accompanied by pianist Jesse Reeks.
McMahon says that “Always” is probably the Berlin song she is most affected by. “The reason is that it was my (maternal) grandparents’ favorite song,” she explained. “I sang it at both of their funerals. I hope I can get through it because it’s very sentimental to me.”
One of the other songs McMahon also looks forward to singing at the concert is “When I Lost You.” “That’s the one song when I’m learning these pieces that is constantly in my head,” she admitted. “I guess it’s my favorite new piece.”
Recently returned from a successful appearance in Des Moines in the role of Lisette in Puccini’s “La Rondine,” McMahon is preparing to take on additional roles including that of Adele in Johann Strauss’ operetta “Die Fledermaus” and as a soloist in Handel’s “Messiah” in Winston-Salem, North Carolina in December. A frequent guest artist at the New York City Opera, McMahon has received the Koloszvar Award for her work as Galatea in its production of “Acis and Galatea” and also achieved critical acclaim for her role in Purcell’s “King Arthur.”
However, McMahon is most looking forward to reappearing on stage with Domingo in a gala concert for the New Orleans Opera Association on October 12. “I’ve sung with him in other places, but it’s definitely the best thing to sing with him in my hometown,” she beamed.