|Ken Noda and Ying Fang
Accompanied by the equally modest and prodigiously talented Ken Noda (we call him Mr. Magic Hands behind his back), Ms. Fang opened her program with an expressive rendering of two Argento songs and moved on to Richard Strauss' Mädchenblumen, Op.22 in which the composer likens different women to different flowers. Ms. Fang showed a variety of moods from flower to flower; while admiring the brilliance of her upper register and her clarity of focus, we were trying to figure out which flower she identifies with herself.
Following we heard a passionate concert aria by Mozart, "Misera, dove son!" in which Ms. Fang unleashed a remarkable sense of drama and impressive control of dynamics. But perhaps our favorite songs were those by Bizet, the sweet "Chanson D'Avril" and the amusingly wry "La Coccinelle".
Four songs by Rachmaninoff were offered with the most charming one being "The Pied Piper". As encore, Ms. Fang dedicated a lovely Chinese song called "The Bridge" to victims of the earthquake in Ya-an. The composer Zaiyilu composed it in a lyrical style with a melody that fell lightly on the ear; Ms. Fang sang it with touching sincerity.
Mr. Noda reports that he and James Levine discovered Ms. Fang at a master class in Shanghai and we are all the more fortunate for it. We are looking forward to witnessing her future development which will happily take place right here. She is already bringing a beautiful instrument, fine technique and a developed personal style to the program. We can scarcely wait to see what happens next.
© meche kroop