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.

Monday, January 28, 2013


Not everything in last night's recital was Schubert's settings of Goethe's poetry but it would be fair to say that the best of the program was just that.  Soprano Devon Guthrie opened the program with a trio of such marvels; our favorite was "Der Schatzgräber" in which the poet learns how to have a good life: "Work by day!  Guests by evening!  Hard weeks!  Merry feasts!"  This sounds like good advice to us! 

The supremely talented Ms. Guthrie was joined by bass-baritone Tyler Simpson for the scene from Goethe's Faust in which an evil spirit does everything in his power to intimidate poor Gretchen; Mr Simpson's large sound was produced in an admirably effortless manner.  He demonstrated comfort in his higher register in a subsequent song.

Soprano Mary Feminear used her agile voice and charming manner to good advantage in "Wer kauft Liebesgötter" and "Der Fischer", two lied we hope to hear again at some point.  The long strophic tale of "Der Gott und die Bajadere" also made a fine impression, reminding us of what a fine storyteller Goethe is.   Baritone Benjamin Bloomfield gave a powerful reading of "An Schwager Kronos" and shone as the defiant "Prometheus"; he is also capable of harnessing this power for some beautiful pianissimo singing. We further enjoyed the sweet countertenor of John Holiday who sang "Geistes-Gruss", "Trost in Tränen", and Meeresstille".

As usual the pianism of Artistic Directors Lachlan Glen and Jonathan Ware was exemplary.  We particularly enjoyed Mr. Ware in "Lied der Anne Lyle" and Mr. Glen's "Ganymed" in which we distinctly heard the nightingale call.

Again, we commend these artists for their total commitment to bringing over 600 Schubert lieder to life.  More to come!

(c) meche kroop

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