Nicholas Phan Follows 2018 Grammy Nomination with Release of New Solo Album, Illuminations, April 20
Nicholas Phan’s new solo album for Avie Records– Illuminations– drops this Friday, April 20, on the heels of his 2018 Grammy nomination forBest Classical Solo Vocal Album. On the new recording, the tenor reunites with his long-time recital partner, pianist Myra Huang, besides joining forces with the adventurous Brooklyn-based orchestral collective, The Knights, and the award-winning Telegraph Quartet. Comprising compositions by Benjamin Britten, Claude Debussy, and Gabriel Fauré, the album is a collection of vocal music inspired by the poetry of two scandalous figures of the Parisian Belle Époque, Paul Verlaine and his younger lover, Arthur Rimbaud.
The poetry and salaciously intertwined lives of Paul Verlaineand Arthur Rimbaudwere the inspiration for the music of Illuminations, which boasts three important song cycles: Fauré’s La bonne chanson, Debussy’s Ariettes oubliées,and Britten’s Les Illuminations. All three works are settings of poems written just before and during the period in which Verlaine and Rimbaud scandalized all of Paris. Shortly after his marriage to the young Mathilde Mauté, Verlaine was sent poems written by Rimbaud, then aged 17. Upon reading them, Verlaine invited the young country-boy prodigy to Paris, initiating a tumultuous affair that would end with Verlaine shooting Rimbaud in the hand during a lovers’ quarrel that got out of hand one fateful night in Belgium.