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, April 20, 2019


Bronwyn Schuman and Anneliese Klenetsky

Soprano Anneliese Klenetsky is about to say farewell after eight years at Juilliard, from pre-college to Master of Music; we are pleased to report that she will be staying in New York City for the immediate future--so we can avoid a tearful goodbye. A presence like hers is a joy to behold, as beautiful of spirit as she is of voice, and as well endowed. We enjoyed her gracious tribute to Juilliard almost as much as her performance.

We will never forget her starring role as the Governess in Britten's Turn of the Screw, nor her spirited performance in NYFOS at Juilliard, nor her performance with Juilliard 415, not to mention the numerous recitals.

As a matter of fact, we were delighted to revisit works that she has performed before, among which the set which contrasted views of Ophelia from Shakespeare's Hamlet was our favorite. Brahms' Fünf Ophelia-Lieder are gorgeously melodic and portray Ophelia as a pathetic victim; Richard Strauss' Drei Lieder der Ophelia portray her as deranged. The same text set to wildly different music gave the singer an opportunity to show off her versatility.

Ms. Klenetsky has a bright and brilliantly focused soprano that is never harsh; she employs it with fine technique that never calls attention to itself but exists to serve the music. Following the two sets of Ophelia songs, she ended her program with a charming a capella folksong "Let no man steal your thyme", the melody of which had a rather Irish sound.

Another set that we have previously heard her perform comprised songs by Francis Poulenc--the anxious tale of "Le disparu" counterintuitively set to jolly piano music, the sad "C" and the surreal "Fêtes galantes". Ms. Klenetsky has a real feeling for Poulenc and his ironies. She uses gesture generously to get the songs across.

The evening opened with an assist from the harpsichord (Francis Yun) and a string quartet comprising violinists Rachel Ellen Wong and Ethan Lin, violist Sergio Muñoz Leiva, and cellist Madeline Bouïssou. Vivaldi's work In furore lustissimae irae, sung in Latinopened with a spirited Allegro, the heavily ornamented line of which provided Ms. Klenetsky with the opportunity to display marked flexibility. There was a sorrowful recitativo, a Largo and a rapid fire conclusion with a melismatic "Alleluia".

The Händel which followed was more to our liking. "Caro! Bella!" from Giulio Cesare amounts to the swapping of endearments and we found it endearing, thanks to a delightful performance by Ms. Kelentsky and countertenor Jacob Inbar. We were completely captivated.

Even better was "Io t'abraccio" from Rodelinda in which the overtones of each singer's voice augmented those of the other's. Mr. Ingbar had some low notes here but was undaunted. Both singers excelled.

There was also a cycle of songs by Lili Boulanger, the sister of the famous Nadia Boulanger. This promising musician died tragically at the age of 25. Neither the text nor the music of the cycle Clairières dans le ciel appealed to us but the performance was highly expressive and made good use of dynamic variation. The piano writing was more interesting than the vocal line but we did like the melodic "Nous nous aimerons tant".

It was an impressive and enjoyable farewell recital; tribute was paid to all those folks who fostered Ms. Klenetsky's development as an artist, especially her teachers Edith Wiens and the late Sanford Sylvan, who would have been very proud of her.
(c) meche kroop

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