ASO's Dunner, soprano Davis are to be reunited this weekend

THE BALTIMORE SUN

It is fitting that as Leslie B. Dunner's tenure at the helm of the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra winds down, soprano Kishna Davis is coming to town for one more concert under the maestro's baton.

ASO aficionados will recall that it was Davis who appeared as an 11th-hour replacement soloist at Dunner's ASO debut in February 1998. She brought last-minute repertoire with her as well.

But if the conductor or the soprano, a Howard County native, felt undue pressure at having been brought together so late in the game for Dunner's audition concert, neither betrayed it in performance. The results were extraordinary. Dunner got the job, and Davis' Verdi and Puccini arias elicited a chorus of "Bravo!" that exceeded any other ever heard by this writer in Maryland Hall.

Davis returns to Annapolis this weekend to perform Honey and Rue, an orchestral song cycle composed by Andre Previn to texts by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Toni Morrison. The songs were composed for soprano Kathleen Battle on commission for the centennial celebration of New York City's Carnegie Hall.

For this concert, Davis will be joined by bass-baritone Kevin Deas in excerpts from Gershwin's folk opera Porgy and Bess.

The program is to begin at 8 p.m. tomorrow and Saturday. Tickets are $25, $30 and $35. To order: the ASO box office, 410-263-0907, or www.annapolissymphony.org.

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