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.

Friday, January 18, 2013


Warren Jones
Sidney Outlaw
Baritone Sidney Outlaw and his piano partner Warren Jones gave a most fulfilling recital as part of the Marilyn Horne event "The Song Continues".  Possessed of a superfine baritone instrument, Mr. Outlaw also impresses with his grounded stillness and economy of gesture, something Ms. DiDonato was teaching in yesterday's master class, as reported here at Voce di Meche.  He is in total control of his instrument as exemplified by his dynamics.  There were moments when his pianissimo elicited some breath-holding on our part.  Speaking of breath, Mr. Jones is remarkable by virtue of his profound connection to the singer; he was literally breathing right along with Mr. Outlaw.

The first set, Fünf Lieder, Op. 15, comprises songs on which Richard Strauss cut his compositional teeth.  They afforded Mr. Outlaw an opportunity to show off his fine German and his  deep connection with both poetry and music, whether gentle or impassioned.  And just listen to Mr. Jones go to town in "Aus den Liedern der Trauer"!

The second set comprised six songs by Ralph Vaughn Williams, composed in the first couple years of the 20th c. as House of Life, settings of sonnets by Dante Gabriel Rossetti.  We admired Mr. Outlaw's unaffected English diction which made the songs more than usually accessible.  Mr. Jones' piano might have been taken for a harp in "Love's Minstrels" and was exquisitely delicate in "Love-Sight".

The final set gave us three delightful songs by George Gershwin.  Mr. Outlaw's jacket was abandoned and he allowed the jazzy nature of the works to get under his skin and down into his toes as he relaxed and moved around the stage.  His performance of "Just Another Rhumba" was one of those unforgettable moments.

What a satisfying recital this was!  In the immortal words of Ira Gershwin, "Who could ask for anything more?".  But the audience did ask and Mr. Outlaw complied with some stirring gospel music sung largely a capella--"Fix Me Jesus".  This brought the audience to their collective feet. 

(c) meche kroop

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