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, May 9, 2015


Ekaterina Deleu and Sava Vemić

Although we only got to hear part of the Lindemann recital yesterday due to a prior commitment, what we did hear was sufficient to reinforce our admiration for bass Sava Vemić. We love the deep booming resonance that filled the Bruno Walter Auditorium and the confident compelling stage presence. We loved the expansiveness and expressiveness.

We wondered if Mr. Vemić had attended Gerald Finley's class the day before because we heard evidence of the very skills that were taught--the relaxation, the immaculate German, the plumbing of the depth of feeling in the text.

Schubert's Die Winterreise is one of our favorite song cycles and, the way we perceive it, offers a major challenge to the singer to paint "fifty shades of grey". The songs are unremittingly morose so only the most subtle word coloring is needed. In this, Mr. Vemić excelled, although only four selections were on the program.

We felt the chill of winter in "Gefrorne Tränen", "Wasserflut", and "Auf dem Flusse".  In "Die Krähe" Mr. Vemić convinced us that a crow was tracking his movements. There was solid strength throughout the entire register. Significant contributions came from collaborative pianist Ekaterina Deleu. 

We have heard this cycle sung by tenors and baritones but it was a completely new experience hearing it sung by a bass. We hope that someday Mr. Vemić will tackle the entire cycle.  It will be a very emotional experience!

We also enjoyed his performance of Mozart's concert aria "Per Questa Bella Mano" which somehow reminded us musically of "Deh vieni alla finestra" from Mozart's Don Giovanni.  However, this aria is sincere! His Italian was as good as his German and he invested each line with a different color. The variety made it particularly interesting to hear. There was a lot of expressiveness and he maintained tone even during the pianissimi.

We hated to miss the Russian but we are sure to hear more of this superb bass in the future since it is only his first year with the Lindemann program.

(c) meche kroop

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