Thursday, February 20, 2020
Tuesday, February 18, 2020
Saturday, February 15, 2020
Friday, February 14, 2020
Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Saturday, February 8, 2020
|Joel Harder, Dominic Armstrong, Kate Maroney, Lucy Fitz Gibbon, Caitlin Mead, |
and Allison Gish
The very idea of basing an operatic work on a newspaper series! Those of us who love Leoš Janáček's Vixen Sharp-Ears (also known as The Cunning Little Vixen) do not find that strange at all. How many of us knew, before last night, that the composer set another newspaper series--this one of a diary in the form of poems?
Had we not ventured to The Brooklyn Historical Society last night for another one of Brooklyn Art Song Society's adventuresome program, we might have spent the rest of our life thinking that "The Diary of One Who Disappeared" had something to do with evil politics.
But no! It's a highly romantic and bittersweet tale of a young farmer who is lured into a sexual relationship with a seductive Gypsy woman named Zeffka. At first he feels guilty and expects the worst from her family, about whom he has absorbed the prejudicial feelings of his community. He worries about his parents as well but her allure overcomes his guilt and prejudice. When she becomes pregnant he bids farewell to his home, his family, and his former life. Who knows what will happen to them?
The musical form chosen by the composer was that of a song cycle, but it is one that borders on a one act opera since a few lines are given to Zeffka, a role realized as a mezzo-soprano, with the role of the nameless youth being sung by a tenor.
We were so glad that Artistic Director and Founder of B.A.S.S. Michael Brofman treated us with this novel work and cast it so well. We have never heard Dominic Armstrong sing with such passionate involvement; furthermore, the tessitura of the piece fit his voice like a glove to a hand. He created a great deal of dramatic interest by employing dynamic variety. Singing Zeffka's lines was mezzo-soprano Kate Maroney whose acting and voice were also superb. Although the text does not give much opportunity for staging, the two performers made the most of what was there. Duets were especially lovely.
Adding a fresh dimension was a trio of female voices comprising sopranos Lucy Fitz Gibbon and Caitlin Mead and mezzo-soprano Allison Gish. They sang from the rear of the theater in heavenly harmony and we could only regret that the composer did not give them more to sing.
Collaborative pianist Joel Harder was consistently supportive of the vocal line, never overwhelming the singers. He was particularly effective creating the twittering of the swallows and the delight experienced by the youth in watching his pregnant beloved. There was an exceptional piano solo in which the piano evoked images of the couple making love--or so we imagined!
Just as we were impressed by Mr. Armstrong learning the lengthy cycle in Czech, a notoriously difficult language, so were we impressed by soprano Lucy Fitz Gibbon performing Dorfszenen Sz. 78 in Slovak. It was written by Béla Bartók, a major figure of the early 20th c., arriving on the musical scene a generation or two after Janáček.
We cannot say that we actually heard the folk melodies so assiduously collected by Bartók and his colleague and contemporary Zoltán Kodály but Ms. Fitz Gibbon's performance allowed us to see images of peasant life. The pictures we saw in our mind's eye were that of lives that were tough, even when the music was exuberant. We particularly liked the wedding song, catching a glimpse of a woman who would prefer to stay single!
Along with an attractive bright soprano, Ms. Fitz Gibbon used her entire body in a captivating sincerity of expression that succeeded in bringing each song to vivid life.
From the singer we learned that the cycle has been performed in German and English but rarely in Slovak, a language that appears to be as difficult as Czech. Learning these five songs and giving them such a dramatic performance was a true labor of love, one which we appreciated doubly, inasmuch as the Kodály songs were sung "on the book" by Ms. Maroney.
As regular readers know, your reviewer loses connection when a singer keeps glancing at the score and this becomes the perfect time to pay attention to the piano. Mr. Brofman, who played for Ms. Fitz Gibbon and Ms. Maroney, is a pianist worth paying attention to. This early 20th c. music is difficult for us to wrap our ears around with its rhythmic complexity and dissonance. Our music education apparently ended before we learned about bitonal and modal harmonies!
We can say however that Mr. Brofman himself understands it well and made sense out of it such that we appreciated the emotional tone of the pieces whether they were sprightly, tender, or ironic.
This season's theme continues on March 6th with songs by Sibelius and Grieg.
© meche kroop
Wednesday, February 5, 2020
|Sally Matthews and Simon Lepper|
Nothing pleases us more than discovering a singer we haven't heard before and we approached last night's recital at Weill Recital Hall with high anticipation, especially because the program of Sibelius, Grieg, Strauss, and Wagner comprised songs we know and love. Sadly, the evening left us feeling empty and disappointed, reluctant to sit down at the computer to write about it.
Appreciation of the human voice is a very individual thing and what sounds pleasing to one pair of ears may be unpleasant to another. Although the customary standing ovation with hoots and hollers at the conclusion was absent, there was generous applause and our post-recital chat with friends and colleagues revealed a modest degree of appreciation of certain aspects of the recital, but no one seemed thrilled.
We will get to the voice anon but let us start by saying that a seasoned performer who presents an entire recital buried in the score is cheating the audience of the intimate experience for which one attends a lieder recital in a small house. Dear Reader, bear in mind that soprano Sally Matthews has apparently presented the very same program at Wigmore Hall in London! This was not a recital of new music with weird entrances and strange sounds. No, it was a recital of standard repertory that had been performed before.
Nor did the loathed music stand get set aside for the two encores. If we have one positive thing to say about the singer, it is that the lower tessitura of Britten's "The Salley Gardens" was more agreeable than the hard edges displayed during the rest of the program, an unpleasant sound that was at its worst at the top of the vocal register and was made even worse when the volume was increased.
Admittedly, our friend in the balcony found it not as painful to the ear drums as we did, as did the friend who sat next to us. The lower tessitura of Wagner's Wesendonck Lieder was kinder to the ear. Pianissimo passages were less painful.
We have nothing to say about Ms. Matthews' Swedish. Her German was adequate and there were no omissions of the final "ch"; however at times, entire syllables were glossed over and we missed the crispness heard from German singers. Upward leaps in Wagner's "Schmerzen" were dynamically abrupt.
There was a sameness to the sound of every single song which added to the tedium. We don't believe that the singer lacked in connection to the material but she did lack in connection with the audience. She was either looking at the score or at some nonexistent family circle but never at the audience. We did not feel drawn into her world or the world of the song.
The best singing of the night came from the piano of Simon Lepper. When we feel alienated from a singer, we generally use the situation as an opportunity to focus on the piano and Mr. Lepper did not disappoint. The variety we missed in the voice was amply revealed in the piano.
Fortunately, there were three instrumental selections from Edvard Grieg's Lyric Pieces: "Melodie" from Op.38, No.3, "Melancholie" from Op.48, No.4, and "Arietta" from Op.12, No.1. All were lovely and evocative of different moods. We liked his soft hands as they caressed the keys.
We enjoyed the jaunty accompaniment to Grieg's "Lauf der Welt" which told the tale far better than the singer did. In Strauss' Drei Lieder der Ophelia, Op.67, he captured the madness. Actually, the singer also captured the madness but was uncomfortably shrill.
Mr. Lepper's performance of Strauss' "Morgen!" was exquisite and we found ourselves wishing that he could continue without the voice. Similarly, for Wagner's "Im Treibhaus".
As impressed as we were with Mr. Lepper's piano, we wondered whether, in his role of coach, he had ever suggested to Ms. Matthews that she learn her program sufficiently to share it with the audience. It seems somewhat self-absorbed when a singer appears to be singing for herself and excludes the audience!
© meche kroop
Saturday, February 1, 2020
|Manami Mizumoto, Chloe Kim, Jacob Dassa, Edward Li, Samuel Siegel, Jessica Niles, and Joshua Stauffer|
We recall the first time we heard a countertenor. It was at Manhattan School of Music and the singer was Anthony Ross Costanzo, who has gone on to fame and fortune. More recently we have been dazzled by Jakob Jozef Orlinski and Aryeh Nussbaum Cohen. The fach is not to everyone's taste but it is very pleasing to our ear.
Last night at Juilliard we heard Samuel Siegel in recital and the first thing we noticed about his splendid technique is that there was an evenness throughout the range, evidence of a stable core and good breath control. Last week we reviewed a well-known countertenor who sounded like two different singers at either end of the vocal register. That was not pleasing.
Although sacred music is not nearly as interesting to us as secular music, we thought Mr. Siegel brought beautiful tone and phrasing to Giovanni Battista Pergolesi's 18th c. Stabat Mater. Mr. Siegel wisely chose some excellent artists to accompany him on his journey into Maria's sorrow.
Soprano Jessica Niles matched his artistry all the way and during their duets we were fascinated by the play of harmonics every time the voices essayed a discordant minor second.
Members of Juilliard 415 contributed the accompaniment with Jacob Dassa playing the beautiful harpsichord and Joshua Stauffer plucking the strings of that most impressive instrument, the theorbo. Violins were bowed by Chloe Kim and Manami Mizumoto, the viola by Edward Li, and the cello by Cullen O'Neil. John Stajduhar manned the Double Bass.
The work itself comprises a succession of verses about Mary, mother of Jesus, grieving at the cross. The poet wants to share her grief. There is not much variety in the sentiment and it is impressive how the young Pergolesi managed to inject a great deal of variety into the music. Surprisingly, a couple of the verses were written in a major key, providing some relief from the misery and suffering.
There is less decoration in the vocal line than in music of the Baroque but we did admire the execution of the few turns we heard, and the occasional florid vocal line in the melismatic passages of "Fac, ut ardeat cor meum".
There was a fair amount of excitement in the scale passages of "Inflammatus et accensus", but for the most part the mood was one of devotion and both singers invested the performance with a deeply felt but subdued sincerity.
We wondered what the adventuresome Pergolesi might have achieved had he not perished from tuberculosis at the young age of 26. His work looks forward to the Classicism of the future.
© meche kroop
|Blythely Oratonio (alias Stephanie Blythe)|
photo by Steven Pisano-courtesy of Opera Philadelphia
We will never forget the first time we heard Stephanie Blythe. It was at the Santa Fe Opera in 2002 when she sang Isabella in Rossini's L'Italiana in Algeri and the audience went wild when, in a miracle of stagecraft, she appeared to arrive in a turn-of-the-20th c. Wright Flyer. We were hooked by her larger than life stage presence and her magnificent instrument.
Thursday the indomitable Ms. Blythe appeared in different guise but still wowing us with her presence and her pipes, although this time the pipes were miked. As part of the American Songbook Series of Lincoln Center, Ms. Blythe appeared as her alter ego--Blythely Oratonio whose costume beggars description but can be appreciated in the photo above. Mr. Oratonio sipped a drink from a quart-sized martini glass and mopped his brow with a large white handkerchief. He gently poked fun of opera to the delight of the audience.
As one might expect, of the various genres of music being offered, we responded most enthusiastically to his "Nessun dorma" and "Tu sei Pagliaccio", not to mention "Recondita l'harmonia". Arias were interspersed with popular music, music with which we confess to being unfamiliar but which certainly struck a chord with the audience, to coin a phrase. Music Director Drew Wutke managed to mingle Verdi, Puccini, and Queen! He also did a knockout version of Chopin's Prelude in E minor, Op.28 No.4, the death-like imagery of which perfectly suited the message at the end of the program.
On our way to the performance, a friend asked us why Ms. Blythe would want to appear in beard and moustache, singing tenor songs. My answer was based on the secret pleasure we have had singing tenor arias in the shower. Show me a mezzo-- a fach well known for playing second fiddle to the soprano so to speak--who hasn't wanted to sing a starring role, be it soprano or tenor!
But as the evening went by and we listened to the clever script of Co-Writer and Director John Jarboe, we realized that Ms. Blythe had more important fish to fry. The theme for this compelling program was that of transitioning. That word is being heard more and more these days as increasing numbers of individuals are choosing to live as a different gender than that with which they were born, or refusing being put into any gender category. People are freely insisting on being called by their gender of preference or using "they, them, and theirs".
But there are even more transitions of which we need to be made aware. As we go through life we age. We can no longer do the same things we did before. This is particularly true in ballet and opera, but it is also true for civilians. Sometimes we have to accept the death of what was (and that's where the Chopin Prelude came in) and welcome what is.
Early in the program, Ms. Blythe sang Queen's "I Want to Break Free" and indeed she did. Later she sang Sondheim's "Send in the Clowns", adding a bit of pathos. We don't know what percentage of the audience comprised her opera fans and what percentage were subscribers to American Songbook. But everyone had a splendid time and left smiling. We, on the other hand, left thoughtful. We know all about changing and moving on from a personal perspective but this was the first time we became aware of it from an artist's perspective and felt grateful for the insight. It's true that a little bit of humor makes the medicine go down!
Additional credit must be given to Daniel Kazemi for his fine arrangements and the band, which comprised Mr. Wutke with Jimmy Coleman providing the percussion, Mike Ian on guitar and Andrew Nelson on bass.
The extravagant costumes were designed by Machine Dazzle with Rebecca Kanach.
Other performers were called "Birdies"--Messapotamia Lefae and Sav Souza. Yet others were called "Flowers"--Hailey McAvoy and Margaret Tigue who sang "Döme épais" from Leo Délibes' Lakme and "Belle nuit" from Offenbach's Contes d'Hoffman.
We love the idea of breaking boundaries! The show took "breeches roles" into a new dimension.
© meche kroop
Thursday, January 30, 2020
|Grace Francis, Megan Moore, Xu Cheng, Aleea Powell, Marina Iwao, Junseok Hwang, |
Francesco Barfoed and Lila Dufy
We heard a finely curated program of lieder and Russian art song at last night's Liederabend at Juilliard. Over the past several years we have gained an appreciation of Russian opera and song which, at first, seemed inaccessible. As the sound became more familiar to our ear we noticed just how expressive the language is and how well the Russian masters set the text, both in rhythm and pitch. Fortunately coach and curator Natalia Katyukova chose the program well. Likely, she was also responsible for the young singers taking the stage with presence, introducing themselves, and telling a bit about the songs they would sing.
In the final set, mezzo-soprano Megan Moore and collaborative pianist Grace Francis made a fine team and performed selections from Tchaikovsky's Seven Romances, Op. 47. "If only I'd known" is a strophic song based on a folk tune with text by Tolstoy. Ms. Moore sang it with escalating urgency and dynamic variety. We enjoyed the melismatic passages.
What affected us the most was "Was I not a blade of grass in the field", another strophic song with some stunning melismatic passages and a powerful climax. We have heard Ms. Moore in recital and competitions-- singing an appealing Cenerentola and a resolute Dorabella as well as the Komponist--always admiring her lyricism and dramatic skills. But last night she made us weep in her deeply committed rendering of a young woman's hopeless situation.
Fortunately, the set and the concert ended on a more cheerful note with "Whether day dawns" in which Ms. Francis let loose with a passionate postlude. We always love it when a pianist who has been delicately supporting the singer is able to tear up the keyboard like that and show a different side of her artistry.
The other three singer/collaborative pianist pairs were also fine. Soprano Lila Dufy has a pleasing tone and lovely resonance in the upper range. Francesco Barfoed accompanied with soft hands lending sensitive support. The generous use of gesture seen in the two selections from Strauss' Mädchenblumen would have made the Rachmaninoff songs even better. Perhaps the fact that she translated the Strauss herself had given her more ease in the interpretation. The evocative text by Pushkin in "Muza" could definitely profit by some storytelling.
Soprano Aleea Powell deserves recognition for taking the stage in spite of a recent tragedy that she shared with the audience. She has a gracious stage presence and sang four songs by Richard Strauss accompanied by the piano precision of Xu Cheng who made some lovely rippling sounds in "Ständchen". We would very much like to see (or rather to hear) Ms. Powell achieve some consistency in her final "ch"s. Like so many American singers, she softens them so much that they go missing on us. We want to hear this lovely young woman again.
We tend to be rather nit-picky with German but not all with Russian, which we do not speak! To our ears, everyone's Russian sounded just fine.
Baritone Junseok Hwang clearly loves to sing and is unafraid to show his enthusiasm. Pianist Marina Iwao consistently matched his emphases. In Schubert's "An Silvia", with text taken from Shakespeare's Two Gentlemen of Verona, he assumed the expansive tone of a bedazzled suitor.
In "An den Mond", Ms. Iwao produced such ripples on the piano that suggested nothing less than Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata which had been composed 14 years earlier. We have no evidence that Schubert heard Beethoven's famous sonata, but it is likely that he was influenced by the master. We loved the change of dynamics and the urgency of the central part. The third verse in a minor key was rendered with contrasting pathos.
We rarely hear songs by Mihail Glinka and were delighted that Mr. Hwang performed two of them. "To Molly" has an interesting rhythm and a challenging ascending passage at the end which echoes the text "rising to the heavens".
That phrase just about describes our spirits as we left this satisfying recital. It's always exciting for us to monitor students' progress as they move through the excellent Juilliard Vocal Arts program.
© meche kroop
Monday, January 27, 2020
|Justine Aronson as Gutrune in On Site Opera's Das Barbecü (photo by B A von Sise)|
We have seen more than our fair share of Ring Cycles and we have spent quite a bit of time in The Lone Star State; both of these experiences contributed to our enjoyment of On Site Opera's current expression of their mission to present opera in venues relevant to the material. Only this time it wasn't an opera but a wildly inventive musical called Das Barbecü, starring trained opera singers.
Do you need to have seen Wagner's Ring Cycle to appreciate this original production? Not really, although a basic familiarity with the story might add to your enjoyment of the parody. Do you need to have been to Texas to appreciate the Texas tropes? Not really, since you have probably been exposed to Texas stereotypes by film or television. Who wouldn't appreciate the emphasis on barbecue and guacamole, our favorite song being "Makin' Guacamole". And of course, there was a chart in front of the musicians to explain the plot for you.
What we are trying to say is "Go see it!". Your intrepid reviewer was there for opening night and urges you to get tickets to one of the several remaining performances, if there are indeed any left. You will have a swell time and you will enjoy a fine family-style dinner of Texas brisket, barbecued chicken, mashed sweet potatoes, and mac 'n cheese (which Texans consider a vegetable)--all included in the ticket price.
It would be unfair to say that the show condensed 15 hours of Wagner's epic into 2 plus hours; the emphasis is mainly on Götterdammerung and much of the plot from the preceding three operas is revealed in flashbacks. Of course, that is also a feature of Wagner's epic narrative with characters often bringing other characters up to date on what had previously happened.
The show was commissioned in 1991 by General Director of the Seattle Opera Speight Jenkins who offered it as a light-hearted accompaniment to the Seattle Ring Cycle for subscribers to enjoy. The book and lyrics by Jim Luigs are clever and the music by Scott Warrender offers a variety of music from faux Country Western to sincere ballads--all of it tuneful.
We are reluctant to give away too much of the plot or any of the hilarious one-liners. Let us just say that Valhalla is now a ranch with Fricka (Zuri Washington) keeping house and resenting the philandering of her husband Wotan (Robert Wesley Mason). Alberich (David Hughey) is still vying with Wotan for the "Ring of Gold" and the pair reach a surprise reconciliation. Siegfried (also Mr. Hughey) is an earnest but not-too-smart cowpoke who is given a spiked drink at a honky-tonk bar, causing him to forget his bride Brünnhilde (a spunky Jessica Fishenfeld) who gets carried off by the not-too-smart Gunther (Mr. Mason) who arranges for Siegfried to wed his sister Gutrune (Justine Aronson).
One of the best numbers in the score has the two abandoned brides devouring the wedding dinner all by themselves and making friends in the process.
If all this sounds confusing, rest assured that rapid costume changes and acting skill serve to identify each character. Seeing a cast of five accomplish all this complex storytelling is impressive in and of itself. We haven't even mentioned the hilarious scene with the three Norns and the even funnier scene in which the adorable Ms. Aronson in the role of Freia gets taken by the two giant carpenters and... oh, we will stop here. You will want to see that for yourself!
Direction by Eric Einhorn and Katherine M. Carter kept up a frenetic pace. Whitney Locher's costumes were just right with Brünnhilde's wedding dress taking the cake and evoking one of the bitchiest one-liners in the show. No, we will not divulge it here!
Music Director Emily Senturia played keyboard with a second keyboard played by Riko Higuma. Liz Faure was swell on guitar and Victoria Paterson fiddled away in true Country and Western style. Clara Warnaar was in charge of the drums. We particularly enjoyed the Texas two-step which they really do dance in Texas!
Looking around at the audience, we have never seen so many grinning faces. We could not tell whether they were simply enjoying the show or were also enjoying witnessing Wagner's complex plot being transmogrified and parodied.
If we were to find one fault with this entertaining evening, it would have to do with the staging and sound. Although it was kind of fun to have the cast moving around the room and between the long picnic tables, it also required quite a bit of rubber-necking.
Complicating this was the amplification. Fortunately, it was certainly not ear-splitting but it was impossible to tell where the voices were coming from, making the rubbernecking even worse.
We know nothing about sound design so we are unable to say how that problem could be surmounted. Nonetheless, we had a great time and left happy. And so will you!
© meche kroop
Sunday, January 26, 2020
|Anna Smigelskaya and Carolina López Moreno|
Two remarkable artists performed a recital of art songs, the likes of which we have not heard in a long while. Could a graduation recital at Manhattan School of Music surpass so many given at Carnegie Hall by famous singers? Yes, it could and it did!
Although some credit for the magnitude of our pleasure could be given to the astute choice of material, we have a sense that these two lovely ladies working together in sublime harmony could have pleased us with any program they chose.
We first were exposed to the gifts of soprano Carolina López Moreno in 2018 in a Talents of the World competition when we enjoyed her Juliette and her Violetta--two very different heroines, both successfully realized. Her Manhattan School of Music performance as the lead in Nino Rota's rarely heard one-act opera I Due Timidi was another feather in her artistic cap. In 2019 we had yet another chance to enjoy her artistry at a Classic Lyric Arts salon at which she performed Leïla in a duet.
However, art song is completely different from opera and it's a rare artist who can do justice to both forms of vocal artistry. Both Ms. Moreno and her collaborative pianist Anna Smigelskaya have plenty of stage presence and the audience was engaged from the beginning.
The program opened with three charming songs from Rossini's Soirées musicales. In the first song "La promessa" we could immediately identify a lovely legato that persevered throughout the smooth upward leaps, some graceful portamenti, a variety of dynamics, some clear staccato passages, and a sincerity of emotion. Ms. Smigelskaya underscored the vocal line with some lilting arpeggi.
"L'invito" manifested a seductive invitation with some well-executed turns, all laid over a gorgeous carpet of sound in the piano. In "Pastorella delle alpi", the singer created a welcoming character, reveling in some melismatic arpeggi. We enjoyed the brief shift to a minor key. To say we were enchanted would be an understatement.
We would have been content to enjoy more of the same for the remainder of the evening but it was time to move on to some lieder from Hugo Wolf's Italienisches Liederbuch, somewhat in keeping with the first set if not linguistically at least culturally. We are delighted to report that Ms. Moreno's German is perfect, but one would expect that since she grew up in Germany.
The flirtatious "Du denkst mit einem Fädchen mich zu fangen" has a cute twist at the end as the woman turns the tables on a man. Not all of von Heyse's poetry portrays an elusive woman. The singer in "O wär dein Haus durchsichtig" is completely devoted to her beloved. The poor girl in "Mein Liebster singt am Haus im Mondenscheine" is being serenaded by her sweetheart but cannot respond because of a watchful mother. Like any histrionic teenager she is "crying tears of blood"! Ms. Smigelskaya's piano was filled with longing in a minor key.
Three songs in English followed and we were astonished by the perfect enunciation that made every word clear, even at the upper end of the register. Samuel Barber's setting of James Agee's "Sure on this shining night" was followed by Charles T. Griffes' setting of Sydney Lanier's "Evening Song", filled with exaltation. Our favorite of this set was Frank Bridge's "Love went a-riding", a setting of Mary Elisabeth Coleridge's charming text, filled with wonder.
Debussy's setting of Paul Bourget's Two Romances evinced long lyrical lines in the Gallic tradition of mélodie; the singing was delicate in "L'âme évaporée" and "Les cloches", as was Ms. Smigelskaya's delicate accompaniment.
Spanish was next on the program, to our delight. Who could not succumb to the eroticism of "Del cabello mas sutil" from Fernando Obradors' Canciones clásicas españolas! In the central section, Ms. Moreno began humming and opened up her voice to a captivating vocalise, whilst Ms. Smigelskaya produced ripples of arpeggi in the piano.
Following the serious passion of that song was the charmingly silly folk song "Chiquitita la novia" which opened and closed with a flamenco inflected vocalise. There was a powerful high note to bring the song to an end.
The "dessert" of this tasty meal was in Russian and we heard three of our favorite songs by Rachmaninoff from his Twelve Romances. "Zdes' khorosho" or "How fair this spot" transported us to a special place and was marked by expressive dynamics. "Jeshchjo v poljakh belejet sneg" or "Spring Waters" is filled with the ecstacy of the arrival of Spring after a long winter.
Still, our favorite was and always will be the melancholic "Ne poy, krasavica" or "Do not sing to me" which speaks of longing for what is gone and never fails to touch our heart. All of these emotions were limned by our two artists in tandem.
The audience demanded an encore and we got the impression that none was prepared because the duo performed a welcome repeat of "Love went a-riding".
We are noted for being nit-picky but this was one recital of which we would not have changed a single note. From technique to story-telling, everything achieve a rare perfection. We hope that the two artists will stay together because their rapport was matchless. We foresee a great future for them.
We are not alone in our admiration. There have been countless awards, scholarships, and much recognition as well as plenty of engagements. What excites us most in her future is a debut as Violetta. If anyone can portray the three phases of our favorite heroine it is she. It is said that Violetta requires three different singers but one versatile soprano like Ms. Moreno will likely fulfill all the requirements.
© meche kroop