Flutist and harpist play as one 'beautiful soul'

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Bell' Alma Duo
Michele Frisch, flute and Kathy Kienzle, harp perform as the Bell' Alma Duo. They have just released a new CD, "La Belle Vie."
MPR Photo/Karl Gehrke

They met while making music for singers. And they liked playing together so much that they decided to form a duo that performed music from the vocal repertoire.

Kathy Kienzle, principal harp with the Minnesota Orchestra and Michele Frisch, principal flute of the Minnesota Opera, are the Bell' Alma Duo. They named themselves after an Italian phrase meaning "beautiful soul."

When playing an instrument, a musician often seeks to imitate the fluidity and line of a singer. Kienzle and Frisch were accompanying the Dale Warland Singers and the Minnesota Opera when they got to know each other, and discovered a mutual desire to "sing" through their instruments.

The two have just released a new CD called "La Belle Vie," featuring music from the French operatic literature.

The repertoire is not simply lifted whole cloth from a singer's score, but includes virtuoso opera fantasies and a new work inspired from a little-known Ravel opera by composer Daniel Sturm.

The two musicians stopped by Minnesota Public Radio to talk about their work with host Alison Young, and play selections from their new disc.