Our favorite thing to do in this glorious city is to discover new talent; what better place to do this than The Juilliard School! Even in the undergraduate division there are gifted young singers and accompanists; one can see the raw talent and just know that success lies down the road for these young people.
On many Thursday afternoons at 6PM one can attend a Liederabend featuring students from the Ellen and James S. Marcus Institute for Vocal Arts and Collaborative Piano Departments, along with faculty members and students there to cheer on their classmates. These recitals never disappoint.
Last Thursday we enjoyed tenor Sammy Huh performing Beethoven's song cycle An Die Ferne Geliebte, Op.98. accompanied by Kristen Doering. Prior to Schubert, songs were often folksy and Mr. Huh sang them with sincerity and admirable simplicity, not neglecting dynamics, pacing or fine German diction.
Accompanied by Siyi Fang's delicate touch on the keys, bass-baritone Davone Tines performed four Schumann songs; he is a fine storyteller, excelling in "Belsatzar" and "Der Hans und die Grete tanzen herum", mining all the inherent drama.
Soprano Laura LeVoir showed charming Gallic flair as she spun out the long legato lines in selections from Debussy's Ariettes Oubliée. We especially enjoyed "Green". Her piano partner was Luis Ortiz.
Tenor Martin Bakari sang four songs by Liszt, charming us with one of our favorite melodies "O lieb, so lang du lieben kannst" which he invested with a great deal of passion. We would like to see him lose his fear of the final "ch" sound and give it its due. Bretton Brown's piano part was lovely, evoking the sound of the river in "Im Rhein,im schöne Strome".
The program ended on a high note, so to speak, with soprano Lara Secord-Haid showing a wonderful feel for the four selections from Richard Strauss' Brentano Lieder, Op.68. Her voice is rich at the bottom and swells to a resonant pingy top. We especially enjoyed "Ich wollt ein Sträusslein binden", in which Ms. Secord-Haid negotiated the many skips with aplomb. Her stage presence was a pleasure to behold.
It would appear that much credit goes to Margo Garrett who coached these young singers. Let it be said that the diction was quite excellent in nearly all cases. We would regret missing any of these superb Liederabends.
(c) meche kroop