Bonita Hyman’s voice, a lustrous, full-bodied mezzo, can convey both warm radiance or sultry sensuality. Her artistry, too, is easing into full bloom–making her one of the more convincing and versatile actress-singers in town. The Yale-trained vocalist will display her range in this recital sponsored by Columbia College’s Center for Black Music Research. The program reaches back to the swooning romanticism of Mahler’s Songs of a Wayfarer, to the coquettish wistfulness of five songs by Henri Duparc’s, and to the emotional piquancy and volatility of de Falla’s Siete canciones populares espanolas. What makes this bountiful program distinctive, however, are songs written by black composers who never found a place in mainstream musical history. Chevalier de Saint-Georges, a Parisian musician born to an African mother, was a contemporary of Haydn’s and wrote prolifically. His oeuvre is being reconstructed by the center’s director Dominique-Rene de Lerma, and Hyman will sing three of his songs along with the vivid and well-crafted Cradle Songs by Camille Nickerson, aka “The Louisiana Lady,” who studied at Oberlin and the Juilliard. Hyman will also premiere the spiritual-influenced Lyric Suite by contemporary composer Robert Leigh Morris. This concert is the first in an annual series honoring the memory of Ben Holt, a baritone whose fast-track career was cut short in 1989. Saturday, 8 PM, Harold Washington Library Auditorium, 400 S. State; 663-1600, extension 559.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Lisa Kohler.