We are here to encourage the development of gifted young singers and to stimulate the growth of New York City's invaluable chamber opera companies. But we will not neglect the Metropolitan Opera either. Get ready for bouquets and brickbats.

Monday, March 4, 2013


What a splendid evening we enjoyed pretending we were in a long dress at a musicale chez Herr Franz Schubert, listening to friends singing the songs he dashed off that day with the maestro himself at the piano!  But no, it is 2013 and we were visiting the spacious digs of one of the co-Artistic Directors of Schubert@Co. listening to three lovely ladies with gorgeous voices and two talented pianists.

The lovely lady #1, soprano Devon Guthrie, showed off some new darker colors, most appropriate to the sad songs she performed--Schiller's poetry for "Des Mädchen's Klage" and Kenner's "Grablied".  Lovely lady #2, Australian soprano Elena Perroni sang threee lieder which were settings of poetry by von Leitner--songs related to finding comfort in nature, in tears and in nostalgia for childhood.  In the strophic "Die Sterne", we enjoyed the repetitive rising pattern brought out by Bretton Brown's fine pianism.  Ms. Perroni continued with two settings of Metastasio poetry, showing off her fine Italian.  We could easily believe that Rossini was sitting next to Schubert when he wrote these bel canto inflected lieder.

Lovely lady #3, mezzo Samantha Malk, accompanied by the wonderful  Dimitri Dover, sang the one familiar lied on the program, Craigher de Jachelutta's "Die junge Nonne"; Mr. Dover perfectly reflected the change of mood from tormented to peaceful.  This was quite a change from the humorous "Das Echo", setting of poetry by Castelli; Ms. Malk is quite the story-teller and we loved the tale of the young woman who blames the echo for her falling into a romance with her suitor.  Translations were totally unnecessary, given Ms. Malk's fine diction and dramatic skills.

It was a memorable recital and the evening finished off with some more informal singing, much as we imagined Schubert would have had at his musicales so long long ago.  We felt connected to a lovely unbroken tradition.  May it continue!

(c) meche kroop

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