Baritone sings Spanish songs


Photo by: Rachel Ankers

For the first Artist Series of 2017, Yun Hao and Carla Romaniuk delivers a performance entirely in Spanish.

Yun Hao Jiang and Carla Ferreira Romaniuk performed the first Artist Series concert of the academic year in the Blackbox at the FMU Performing Arts Center (PAC).

The concert was titled “Spanish Night Dreams,” and Jiang said he chose the musical selections because he has always wanted to perform a concert completely in Spanish.

Jiang said he is fluent in Spanish and met Romaniuk while living in Uruguay.  During the concert, Jiang sang baritone while Romaniuk played the piano.

“This repertoire is what I grew up with,” Jiang said. “I lived in Uruguay for 10 years, and I grew up listening to these songs.”

During the concert, Jiang said he was excited to use music to take the audience on a metaphorical journey from where he grew up, Uruguay, to other Spanish-speaking areas, including Spain.

Some of the selections performed included “Florence Argentinas” by Carlos Guastavino, “Canción al árbol del olvido” by Alberto Ginastera and “Siete canciones populares españoles” by Manuel de Falla.

Since all of the songs were sung completely in Spanish, the PAC staff provided translations for the songs in addition to the traditional program.

Jiang now lives in Charleston, S.C. and is a faculty member at the Charleston Academy of Music. He compared one of his selections, “Pueblito, mi pueblito” by Carlos Guastavino, to the city of Charleston.

According to Jiang, the piece was about a man who lived in a small town that was growing rapidly and wanted to remember the little town that he grew up in. Jiang said a similar thing is currently happening in Charleston. As the city continues to grow, residents are trying to not forget the small city atmosphere they previously experienced.

Jiang also took time between several musical selections to explain their meanings and discuss why he and Romaniuk chose the pieces.

“I liked every single one of the pieces I picked,” Jiang said. “One thing that I like about singing chamber music with my friend is that I get to pick everything that I like. Being an artist, I think that’s the most important thing because if you don’t feel it or don’t like something, you should not perform it.”

Jiang said performing on a stage is a transparent action because the audience can tell when the artist doesn’t like the selection.

Romaniuk came to South Carolina specifically for this show, but Jiang said that performing at the PAC was a precursor to a full tour across the U.S. and in Europe that he and Romaniuk hope to begin soon.

Jiang has performed in several operas prior to his performance at FMU. Martha McCarley, an administrative assistant for the Physician Assistant Studies program, said she attended the concert because she likes opera and expected the concert to be good enjoyable because of Jiang’s experience with opera.

“I don’t understand a word of Spanish, but that’s the thing about opera,” McCarley said. “It’s the emotion that is conveyed. Sometimes, I would close my eyes, a trick I learned from my grandmother, which allowed me to just concentrate on the vocals and nothing else.”