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ARTS FIRST Performance Fair

Event Dates

Saturday, April 30, 2022 3pm to 3:20pm

One Harvard Yard, Cambridge, MA 02138

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Khaleem Ali, PhD '14, countertenor and Academic Coach, Academic Resource Center, sings "Songs to Celestial Objects," a program of songs and arias spanning 300 years that invoke the sun or moon.


"Già il sole dal Gange" from L'Honestà negli amori (1680) by Alessandro Scarlatti 
A page boy sings this cheerful aria about the sparkling sun as he admires the sunrise. While the opera has been long forgotten, this aria is popularly anthologized, and many beginning students of classical voice learn it.

"Vaga luna, che inargenti" from Tre ariette inedite (1838) by Vincenzo Bellini
The speaker asks the moon, which covers nature in its silvery light, to tell his far-away beloved that he longs for her and hopes to be with her again. Meanwhile, he is comforted by that hope. 

"L'heure exquise" from 7 Chansons grises (1890) by Reynaldo Hahn
In this sublime setting of an 1870 poem by Paul Verlaine, you can almost "hear" the soft moonlight in the woods as the speaker captures a tender moment of romantic bliss. 

"Hymn to the Sun" from Akhnaten (1981) by Philip Glass
This aria is the sole English piece in Glass's monumental opera about the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten, who changed his name to reflect his connection to the Aten, a sun god. A setting of translated excerpts from the ancient ruler's own "Hymn to the Aten," the aria praises the Aten, whom Akhenaten declared the "sole god."


Khaleem has been studying voice since he was a graduate student at GSAS, and he is an alumnus of the Harvard Glee Club. He previously performed at ARTS FIRST in 2012 and 2013 and he directed a play at the 2015 festival. Read Khaleem's administrative bio here.

Liya Nigmati is a concert solo and collaborative pianist, opera coach, and educator. She is a staff member at the New England Conservatory and the Boston Conservatory at Berklee. A Steinway Teacher & Educational Partner, Liya is also Principal Collaborative Pianist at Concord Chorale (NH). Contact: liyanigmati@gmail.com

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