This site represents a transition to an onward developing life. I am primarily a singer. That
is what I have always been and that is what I always will be. I am a modest coloratura soprano of a certain age. (At
its most heroic think Zerbinetta, ranging through Pamina, Susanna, Marie Daughter of the Regiment, Fledermaus Adele w lots
of Bach and early music for balance). It has taken me a good year to be certain of my vocal direction. Voices change. In my
30-50s I sang the big Wagner repertoire. Then I had sinus surgery which unblocked everything - suddenly an easy top up to
the high F# above high C presented itself. However, I have sustained two cardiac arrests in 2013 and 2015 and have recovered
totally. I have a serious genetic quirk that with the right provocation rears its head - and I have a difibrillator in my
chest to prevent the possible next attack. In retrospect, the heavy repertoire was wrong physicially, since I am still dancing
in advanced ballet classes and more than holding my own. However everything physicially has to be based on a light flexible
approach. Please check the later sections of my website to understand why I have had a varied and checkered vocal background.
I have concertized as Sue Hassel, Soprano and Piano, however with the exciting new changes, I have a partner in crime so I
don't have to split my focus when I sing. Part of the charm of singing in recital is facing your audience squarely in
front of the piano. I am also a solo pianist performing in recital when I have found something so fantastic
to play, that the excitement of the exploration leads me to present the latest new sonata, variation, or larger work in recital
for a full evening at the keyboard. We sold the home farm in Wisconsin and my sister, a cancer survivor, now lives with
me. It's great fun having her and her fur baby, Kendall, around.
I got tired of having my
hair tinted, so the big pic of me in front of one of my paintings entitled Morning Glory, is me sans makeup and hair dye.
I was seeing so many of my friends enjoying the freedom from repeated hair tinting, and I was green with envy. I have a number
of wigs for truly formal occasions when I wear a ball gown or something similar. In opera, I have always worn wigs, so . .
In the the last five years I have performed an all Russian piano program, as
well as a mixed recital including the Brahms C major sonata, plus another Liszt concert transcription. I finished the
season with an all Chopin recital with a solid performance and a very kind audience. One member heard about the
recital 45 minutes before it started! He was an artist and a writer, who felt moved by my playing to pen a
26 page essay as I played. I think the nicest thing said of any of my playing has been, "It's simply beautiful".
As a pianist I am a crack reader, and a bit of a hot dog. Frequently I am asked to jump in and assist at the
last minute in front of large audiences. As a pianist I am restless. There is so much repertoire to explore. This
year I will devote to Liszt and Busoni. I have played the Liszt Transcendental Etudes publicly years ago, but after
hearing Beresovsky play them at Carnegie, I intend to rework them again and then play them in recital again. This
will be great fun for me.
I attach four soundbites to give you a sense of what I sound like (all current). Susanna's aria from Le Nozze de Figaro,
Delphine, Schubert, a bleeding chunk from Zerbinetta's big aria (a clear work in progress), and Norina's aria from Don Pasquale
- all are respectible practice room recordings on a quiet day on a German Grand in a small space. (It is very touchy
getting a usable internet soundbite in a small dead space - since most speakers on the usual PC amplify the lower frequencies
and compress the top frequencies which any normal soprano will over-ride in a big way, however I have a great tape recorder
and I set the receiving input so it should not break up. If you are still not sure of what you are hearing, use earphones
and you will hear what is really is going on.) - recorded on a Sunday morning singing and playing simultaneously .... I have
allergies so it takes some time to get going, but it's current.
I was lucky to be featured in the
New York Times both online and weekend edition in April 2015. Below the soundbites you can click on the link.
59th Street Bridge Singer - New York Times - April 2015
And I write about all things artistic, musical and personal current
Also check out the section of this site entitled
Photos & Other Happenings for an extended article on the inception of SUE HASSEL, SOPRANO & PIANO as my most unique
category of performance!!!
In my free time, I paint and sketch. The sunset watercolor is of a site in NYC, the chicken with
little ones a painting (sumi ink and water color wash) hanging in a nursing home in Wisconsin, the access side to the Ed Koch
59th Street Bridge from Queens (one of a series of large bridge paintings), the small hen - a card illustration.