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. For the record, I have a serious genetic quirk that with the right provocation
rears its head - and I have a difibrillator in my chest to prevent any problems. 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.
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
I have just published my first book, entitled RANDOM THOUGHTS
OF A CREATIVE MIND (a collection of poetry, essays, articles, short stories regarding my creative process). The book
is selling on Barnes & Noble and Amazon. My publisher is Outskirts Press. I believe
that first reviews are especially meaningful to the new author, so I quote my first Barnes & Noble review:
"Barnes & Noble First Review
Anonymous Random Thoughts of a Creative Mind by Sue Hassel is a rare treat. Go on a journey and let her take your breath
away with some deeply moving poetic passages and intelligently insightful perceptions on life, death, nature, social-political
topics and love. I found myself saddened when certain passages had ended - going back to re-read them as they conjured up
my own memories and random thoughts, calming me into a reflective, meditative state. You’ll want to hear more from this
truly creative soul and life force."
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.