...Issac Stephen Vaughn stayed to assist soprano Shirley Ritenour, golf club in hand, in greeting our own dear hall of song with “Dich teure Halle,” Elisabeth’s entrance aria from the second act of Richard Wagner’s “Tannhäuser,” in heroic, sculpted tone. I tried to picture Leonie Rysanek, Eva Marton, or Deborah Voigt using Shirley’s staging.

Fire Island Sun

The powerhouse number of the evening went to Shirley Ritenour who offered up close a powerful Wagnerian soprano voice that usually fills up a great concert hall and most likely could be heard over at the Ice Palace, Island Breeze and Cherry’s!

The Wagner piece “dich, teure halle” about a woman returning to a beloved concert hall was echoed here.  Life indeed copies art.

WGBH Boston & WPLM, Plymouth Ma

Shirley Ritenour's "Let My Song Fill Your Heart" is a loving and marvelously conceived tribute to the legendary singer of opera and the Great American Songbook Eileen Farrell.

ritenour_email2-15_resized.jpgMs. Ritenour is the perfect choice to present this program of Farrell favorites.

With a beautiful classically trained voice she puts her heart and soul into operatic favorites by Wagner, Puccini, and Mascagni along with songs by Rogers and Hart, Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen, Sammy Cahn, and others. There aren't many singers around who can make these kind of vocal transitions. Ms. Ritenour proves she is one of the few who can.

Farrell was one feisty lady and I especially enjoyed hearing stories about her in the show. At the end of the evening  a well deserved standing ovation with the audience demanding more. Don't miss an opportunity to see this wonderful presentation. Having know Eillen Farrell and interviewed her for my radio shows many times I know she would have enjoyed it too.

Cabaret Scenes

Shirley Ritenour is blessed with a dramatic soprano that just pours out of her. She dedicated her concert to Eileen Farrell, the be-loved American soprano. Like Farrell, Ms. Ritenour is able to sing both classical and popular fare.

56_dich_theure_halle.jpgThe first half of the program opened with “Dich, Teure Halle” (“Dear Hall, I Greet You Again”), from Tannhauser, with a blast of sound. She demonstrated dramatic abilities in arias from La Gioconda and Cavalleria Rusticana and Menotti’s The Consul. The first half was rounded out with the waltzy “Let My Song Fill Your Heart” (Ernest Charles) and the traditional “Danny Boy.”

When Ms. Ritenour doffed her gown for a pantsuit and picked up a microphone, she sang standards of American songwriting, some using Eileen Farrell’s arrangements and bringing out surprising qualities of these oft-sung tunes. She swung “Old Devil Moon” and was introspective on “He Was Too Good to Me.” Her “Just in Time” rollicked and she was lushly romantic on “My Romance.” She included a premiere of a torch song, “The Dream Is Done,” with music by Robert Farnon and lyrics by her director, Barry Kleinbort. She sounded eerily like Ms. Farrell, who loved her torchy ballads. She ended the show with a soaring “Over the Rainbow” and, as an encore, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”

Director Kleinbort brought naturalness to the proceedings. Ted Taylor, her Musical Director and pianist, was the backbone of her second act ensemble which included “Sweet” Sue Terry (winds), John Redsecker (percussion) and Bill Ellison (bass).

At The Ritz

"In her recent Merkin Concert Hall debut, Shirley Ritenour not only filled our hearts with the songs of the great Eileen Farrell but also lovingly and convincingly kept Farrell's extraordinary pop/opera crossover tradition alive and well!"


Soaking up the Farrell Spirit, Ritenour Makes Predecessor's Arias & Songs Her Own

Following in Farrell’s footsteps is Shirley Ritenour, who gave a winning recital at Merkin Concert Hall, on December 5, entitled “Let My Song Fill Your Heart—inspired by Eileen Farrell.” 

Ritenour greeted us and the concert hall with a ringing and exultant "Dich theure Halle,"  Elisabeth’s entrance aria, and a Farrell favorite, from Richard Wagner’s “Tannhäuser,” with our singer’s rich, pure soprano handily filling out the early Wagner line and filling Merkin as well. 

Ritenour invested “Suicidio,” from Amilcare Ponchielli’s “La Gioconda," with emotion, and with musicality as well, taking all of its challenges—the high notes, piano and forte, and the many low phrases—in her stride....

For the second half of the afternoon, Ritenour doffed her diva dress in favor of a glittery top with my_romance_w_sst_1-2_cropped.jpgblack pants, and she and Taylor were joined by a combo, made up of drummer John Redsecker, bassist Bill Ellison, and Terry on soprano saxophone. Microphone in hand...

....Farrell numbered Jule Styne among her friends, and Ritenour favored us with a gently swinging "Just in Time," from Styne, Comden and Green’s “Bells Are Ringing,” with a lovely hummed vocalise before the repeat, and a radiantly romantic "Time After Time" which Styne and Sammy Cahn wrote for the film “It Happened in Brooklyn.” “My Romance” and “Time After Time” are both on Ritenour’s CD “Both Sides Now,” with music direction by Christopher Marlowe.

To see the full review:

Fire Island Tide Newspaper

OceanAires Dirty Dozen

The second half of the show provided two of the evening's musical highlights.  First was a powerfully sung version of "In Questa Reggia" From Puccini's opera Turandot.  Soprano Shirley Ritenour, a Grove summer resident, thrilled the audience with her formidable voice that captured the imperious quality of this famed aria. 

The Fire Island News

OceanAires, Classical Concert in the Grove, Celebrates a (Dirty) Dozen Years

....To Shirley Ritenour, aided by Vaughan, went the honor of opening OceanAires' second act, for which she brought formidable dramatic soprano tone to "In questa reggia," the protagonist's fiendishly challenging entrance aria, from Giacomo Puccini's "Turandot," without neglecting the pathos of the murder and rape of the Princess' ancestor, Lo-u-ling, at the end of the second verse, and earned a well-deserved standing ovation.

Fire Island Sun

Ocean Aires “Dirty Dozen” is Classic Fun

Act II opened in dramatic fashion with the stellar voice and presence of Shirley Ritenour.  Her deft and beautiful instrument was well displayed as she sang In quest reggia from Turandot.  Her soprano filled the Community House with angst, drama and beautiful tone.  Brightly attired in vivid lime green and bright pink, nature often makes us aware of brilliant creatures by dressing them in bright colors!

Stu Hamstra

"Shirley Ritenour is Here.  This Lady Can Really Sing"


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