Catholicism and the Arts
Mr. Richard Austin
Lecture: Poetry as Prayer
Wednesday, 12 March 2014
3:30PM - 5:00PM
Palm Court, Mundelein Center
Lake Shore Campus, LUC
Performance: Back to Beauty's Giver - Gerard Manley Hopkins
Thursday, 13 March 2014
7:00PM - 8:30PM
Palm Court, Mundelein Center
Lake Shore Campus, LUC
These events are open to the public. All are welcome to attend!
The Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage is fortunate to be able to bring to campus the noted English actor and performer Richard Austin. Austin’s specialty is the performance of poetry, especially the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins. Widely acclaimed as “the finest performer of Hopkins’ poetry today,” Austin will contribute to the Hank Center’s annual forum on Catholicism and the Arts by giving a public lecture on “Poetry as Prayer” and then staging his one-man show “Back to Beauty’s Giver."
Trained at the East 15 Acting School in London, Richard Austin was soon on the stage—England, Wales, Scotland, with world tours to Asia and the Middle East—and on television (e.g. Young Arthur in BBC TV’s The Legend of King Arthur). But he had always had a deep and intensely personal passion for the poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins, and in the last two decades his chief creative endeavor has been to transmit that passion to others through his performances. He has committed all of Hopkins’s poems to memory and then crafted from them the one-man show “Back to Beauty’s Giver,” which tells the story of Hopkins’s life and spiritual progress through his poetry.
Austin has performed Hopkins’s poetry in Italy, Ireland, England, Wales, and Canada, and here in the U.S. in Philadelphia, Dallas, Spokane, Denver and other venues. His performances of Hopkins have been extraordinarily well received. Noted Hopkins scholar Joseph Feeney, S. J., for example, writes that Hopkins’s poems “cry out for vocal ‘performance’” and that, having heard many performances, “Richard Austin tops them all.” Feeney goes on to add that Austin “has spent years with these poems, tasting them, listening to them, sharing his life with them. He knows their rhythms, their sounds, their meanings.” Bernadette Waterman Ward, reviewing an Austin performance in Dallas for University News, says of him: “More than simply providing a torrent of verbal music, Austin brought the meaning of these complex works into greater intellectual and emotional clarity.” Adds Prof. Loren Wilkinson (Regent College, Vancouver, Canada), “Richard does not simply recite the poetry: he performs it powerfully, with a trained actor’s physical and vocal skills.”
Ms. Delia Surratt
Delia Surratt, professor of Vocal Technique at Loyola University Chicago’s John Felice Rome Center and an acclaimed international vocal artist, will be offering a free lecture and concert series. She is the first guest of a new program Catholicism and the Art Series, which is designed to promote cultural productions, both classical and contemporary, that illuminate the rich heritage of art in Catholic culture.
On March 13th Ms. Surratt will give a free lecture entitled “Unleashed Emotion: Opera’s Transformation of Sacred Music.”
She also has also prepared a special musical program for the free concert she will be offering on March 14th.This program contains musical works that date from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries: Giulio Caccini (1550-1610), Giuseppe Domenico Scarlatti (1660-1725), Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901), Giacomo Puccini (1858 – 1924) and others.
The California-born Surratt began her musical studies in Los Angeles where she obtained a B.A. in music from Immaculate Heart College and soon after studied at the Music Academy of the West in California and at the Tanglewood Music Festival in Massachusetts.
Surratt then moved to Italy where she received scholarships to do post-graduate studies at the Santa Cecilia Conservatory in Rome and the Accademia Chigiana in Siena. While there, she studied vocal technique with the renowned Maestro Sona Ardontz and performed at major theatres and concert halls around Europe and Africa.
Performing symphonic and chamber music, as well as an operatic repertoire, Surratt has sung in a plethora of Italian opera houses including La Scala in Milan, Il Regio in Turin, Il Massimo in Palermo, La Fenice in Venice, Il Regio in Parma, and Il Petruzelli in Bari. She has spent three years, in collaboration with the Vatican, as Maestro of Vocal Technique for the boys’ choir of the Sistine Chapel.
Surratt currently sings for national radio and television companies such as NBC and RTSI in America, RAI in Italy, ORTF in France, and ZDF and SR in Germany, along with recordings for Deutsche Grammophon.
In addition, Surratt is a professor of Vocal Technique for the State Conservatory of Music S. Cecilia in Rome and has been a professor of voice for over 30 years in various state conservatories of music in Italy. She is also a vocal professor for the City School of Music in Viterbo, and for several years worked as an external faculty member of the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C.