By: Adam Chimeo for Eugene Daily News
This Saturday, at the beautiful Cuthbert theater, the Eugene Symphony will perform in their fourth annual outdoor summer concert. The symphony will be led by Music Director and Conductor Danail Rachev and will feature soprano Laura Decher Wayte.
Originally from Seattle, Wayte graduated with a master’s degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, where she was awarded Outstanding Achievement in Opera Performance.
Wayte has appeared with Nevada Opera and as a soloist in Beethoven’s Choral Fantasia with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. She has also won numerous awards in various competitions and was the Grand Prize Winner of the 1998 San Francisco Concerto Orchestra International Vocal Competition.
Wayte’s impressive vocal capabilities will be at full display on Saturday, with a program that includes popular audience favorites, such as the music of composers Scott Joplin, John Williams, Harold Arlen, and concluding with Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture. And, despite the inherent difficulties of singing such a wide variety of styles on top of the challenging acoustics of an outdoor venue, Wayte seems to be excited for the opportunity to perform.
“Lucky for me, whatever music I am currently working on seems to be my favorite,” said Wayte.
“Every genre and composer has different things to offer that speak differently to each of us.”
Wayte joined the University of Oregon voice faculty in 2007, where she has played a major role in the development of young artists.
“The U of O is a great place to work. I have wonderful colleagues and am inspired by their teaching and their musicianship. I enjoy most watching the young person gain a sense of confidence and a set of communication skills that will help them mature into whatever kind of person they are. All people are musical and it is an honor to help some of them enlarge that part of their personality.”
Danail Rachev is currently in his third season as music director and conductor of the Eugene Symphony. In addition to the Eugene Symphony, Rachev has also conducted the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Bournemouth Symphony, the Philharmonia Orchestra, as well as countless expert musicians from around the globe. The prestigious conductor has utilized Wayte’s passion and knowledge for Saturday’s concert.
“I am particularly looking forward to singing my translation of Vilja Lied from Lehar’s The Merry Widow,” says Wayte. “I have always enjoyed that song in German for it’s wonderful story, but never liked the published translations. So when Maestro Rachev asked me to sing that piece in English I decided to write my own translation. It has all the sexy double entendres that are present in the German.”
Wayte believes that the performance should provide for a fun evening of joyful music. She says that, “I’m looking forward to the lights and cheerful ambiance. It will be like a party being on stage with the wonderful colleagues in Eugene Symphony, friends from Eugene in the audience and beautiful music.”
Eugene Symphony in the Park will take place at 8PM, and the consensus seems to be that Saturday will be a comfortable 81° – though every true Eugenian knows to never count out the chance of a sudden downpour.
The concert is free and accessible to all the public. A bike valet will be available on the premises. Patrons are encouraged to carpool as parking is limited. Gates are scheduled to open at 6:30 p.m. for a pre-concert performance by the Eugene Symphonic Band.