Hooray For Love brings an evening of love songs to the Highland Center February 15th
For most folks in our area when they hear the name Lewis Freeman, they most likely think of ABRA, the Allegheny Blue Ridge Alliance, a group working to oppose the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project or his work with Highlanders for Responsible Development. But there’s another side to Lewis Freeman, a much more artistic side that will display during the February 15th performance of Hooray for Love at the Highland Center.
“I did not know you were an operatic singer! That’s pretty cool!”
“This is something I have done in my spare time,” said Lewis. “I’ve done this all my adult life and performed widely in Washington [D.C.] when we lived up there and performed elsewhere in the mid-Atlantic area in opera and a little bit in musical theater and cabaret settings, oratorio and a little of film work and then some stage acting as well.”
Lewis’s day job was as a lobbyist in Washington D.C. for several trade groups and at one he also worked for the Governor’s office in Ohio. At the same time he was also performing professionally as singer and actor. He brings a rich and resonant baritone voice to his performances, as heard here in an excerpt of Aaron Copeland’s “I Bought Me a Cat”.
Like many performers, he began singing while still in school. He eventually took lessons from a well-known Washington area voice teacher and once introduced to opera, he was hooked. Singing opera is somewhat different than just stepping up to a microphone.
“Well, opera requires you to develop a vocal technique where the sound can be projected to a large space,” said Lewis. “It does require you to have a larger voice that can be heard and the vocal difficulties of the opera literature are more demanding than those of musical theater for instance.”
Lewis and Soprano Elizabeth Klugel, accompanied by pianist Ed Roberts will present “Hooray for Love” on February 15th at 7pm at the Highland Center in Monterey.
“Hooray for Love is actually the title of one of the songs that is included in the program and it’s a song by Harold Arlen,” said Lewis. “And we thought it was an apt title for the program which is a program basically about songs of love.”
The program will include songs from the Great American Songbook by composers such as Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, and Rogers & Hammerstein. The program will also have a special tribute to the songs of Leonard Bernstein whose 100th birthday was widely celebrated last year and from musical theater composer Stephen Sondheim.
“Since both Elizabeth and I have performed widely in opera, we will be including some opera in the program, but it’s in English [laughs] for those that might be intimidated by Italian or German,” said Lewis. “And it’s a wonderful scene from the comedic opera Don Pasquale by Donizetti about an older man, which is what I am now, who decides he’s going to marry a younger woman.”
Here’s a little taste of that scene.
[Music – Lewis Freeman and Elizabeth Klugel]
“I’m really excited about the program, the music that we’ve selected to perform includes some of the very great songs from American musical theater of the last oh, 80 years I suppose,” said Lewis, “and not all of its old music, some of it, particularly the Sondheim is of much more recent vintage.”
Hooray for Love with baritone Lewis Freeman, soprano Elizabeth Klugel and pianist Ed Roberts is Friday, February 15th at 7pm at the Highland Center in Monterey, Va. Admission is $10.00 for adults, $5.00 for those 15 to 18 years old and free for those under 15. You can find more samples of Lewis’s musical performances at his website lewisfreeman.com.