Remembrance, subtly woven throughout the program, began with a celebration of the centenary of Menotti’s birth. Later, Ives’s songs captured the passing of small-town American innocence. Virgil Thomson’s witty caricatures remind us of our friendships; and finally, in Alan Smith’s song cycle, the loss of life and love in the time of war is vividly portrayed.
For most in attendance at Tannery Pond, that beautiful barn-like space nestled in a Shaker village, tonight’s concert was a first exposure to Viardot’s music. American mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux, known mostly for her Baroque and bel-canto performances, seemed the ideal evangelist to make the case for Pauline’s music, or, at least her considerable lyric gifts. Ms. Genaux, who is a beauty to behold, has a luscious and full tone, performing these works with great musical and emotional conviction, even when the compositions themselves do not live up to their lavish handling.