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.

Saturday, March 8, 2014


Ekaterina Deleu and Mario Chang
Having witnessed Mario Chang's growth through three seasons at the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, we are pleased to report that this young tenor is well on his way toward stardom.  He has a gorgeous instrument that exudes the promise of a dramatic tenor; he has a nearly flawless technique; his expressive Italianate style and diction are enviable; his contact with the audience has grown immeasureably.

Accompanied by the lovely pianist Ekaterina Deleu who kept pace with him in fine partnership, Mr. Chang opened the program with a Mozart concert aria "Misero! O sogno...Aura, che intorno"...K. 431.  His voice came across with consummate power and Ms. Deleu's piano technique was crisp.

The color of that aria is despairing and we were happy that the following set comprised selections from the prolific Reynaldo Hahn's Venezia, sung in Venetian dialect.  We heard Mr. Chang sing these songs a year ago when his contact with the audience was impaired by the use of a music stand.  Happily, Mr. Chang has now totally mastered the material and delivered the songs with great style and connection.  We especially enjoyed the jaunty "Che pecà!" and Ms. Deleu's rocking barcarolle style in the first few selections.

In "La mia letizia infondere" from Verdi's I Lombardi, Mr. Chang exhibited evenness throughout the register and a generosity of sound at the top.  His dramatic instincts served him well in this gloriously romantic aria and just as well in "Ed anche Beppe amo" from Mascagni's L'amico Fritz.

But perhaps the best was saved for last as Mr. Chang threw himself into an aria from Doña Francisquita, a zarzuela by Amadeu Vives I Roig, - "Por el humo se sabe".  The singer is torn between his love for one woman and his passion for another; Mr. Chang's story-telling skills were shown to great advantage.

"Sin tu amor" by Miguel Sandoval was delivered with intensity and a flamenco inflection.

As encore, Mr. Chang offered "Dein ist mein ganzes herz" from Franz Lehár's Das Land des Lachelns, an aria made famous by Richard Tauber.  (Our only tiny quibble of the evening was a dropping of the final "ich" in a few words.)  This passionate aria brought Mr. Chang's devoted fans to their feet for a well-deserved standing ovation.

© meche kroop

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