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The Essex Winter Series opens its 35th season Sunday afternoon with a program of romantic songs that features two real-life musical couples well-known to local audiences.
Soprano Patricia Schuman and bass-baritone David Pittsinger (Couple No. 1) and series artistic director and pianist Mihae Lee and French hornist William Purvis (Couple No. 2) will perform a concert of song and operatic arias that ranges from Dvorák's "Rusalka" to Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Carousel."
These songs and arias, including works by Wagner, Gounod and Copland, add up to the sort of program intended to warm a winter's Sunday, luxurious beauty without sharp edges. There are a few equally charming instrumental works tossed in, including a Schubert piano impromptu and a Schumann romance for piano and horn (with the obvious romantic connections ... husband and wife performers, you see).
The concert at Valley Regional High School in Deep River is the first of four over the next two months, including a March 3 performance by the Northeast Traditional Jazz Ensemble.
- MILTON MOORE
Essex Winter Series, 3 p.m. Sunday, Valley Regional High School, 256 Kelsey Hill Road, Deep River; $30; (860) 272-4572, essexwinterseries.com.