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, February 18, 2013


Dimitri Dover, Samantha Malk, Abigail Levis, Jonathan Estabrooks
Another splendid evening of Schubert lieder drew us out of our cozy home on a bitter cold evening and sent us back out on the street with lots of warmth in our heart.  How fortunate to have two marvelous mezzos and a brilliant baritone interpreting more of Schubert's glorious music.  We are always impressed by the wealth of vocal talent unearthed by Artistic Directors Jonathan Ware and Lachlan Glen.  Since both of them are doing exciting things in Europe this week, we had a chance to hear two other excellent piano partners--Dimitri Dover and Brent Funderburk who departed before the photo could be organized.

The program for the evening comprised Schubert's settings of poetry by August von Platen-Hallermuende, Franz Xaver Schlechta von Wschehrd (just try to wrap your mouth around that name), Ludwig Gotthard Kosegarten, Johann Friedrich Rochlitz and Karl Gottfried Ritter von Leitner.  Whatever the poetry, Schubert's settings illuminate the imagery.

Abigail Levis used her lovely voice and personality to enliven Mr. von Platen-Hallermuende's two sad songs of disappointed love, and went on to Mr. Schlechta's sad "Auf einen Kirchhof" with its many mood shifts.  We loved the ballad "Des Frauleins Liebeslauschen" and were taken with Mr. Funderburk's piano accompaniment in "Aus Diego Manazares".

Samantha Malk, accompanied by Mr. Dover, continued with a selection of lieder, setting of poetry by Mr. Kosegarten.  Ms. Malk has a fully developed mezzo sound and interpreted the songs with deep feeling and fine German diction.

Mr. Dover accompanied baritone Jonathan Estabrooks and both excelled during "Fischerweise" in which the subject of the verse can catch all manner of fish, but not the shepherdess standing on the shore. "Totengraber-Weise", the gravedigger's song, was understandably less cheerful!  Mr. Estabrooks' fine baritone and compassionate interpretation made every song come alive.

Anyone who loves Schubert will find uplift in these recitals.  If you attended one of them, you surely have returned for more.  And if for any reason you have overlooked them, you will regret the lost opportunity to hear every one of Schubert's 600-plus songs.  The next recital will be 6PM on 2/24 at Central Presbyterian Church, 64th and Park Avenue.

(c) meche kroop

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