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, March 29, 2013


Our favorite hang

It is impossible to sit in Paul Hall at Juilliard during one of the liederabend without feeling grateful for the opportunity to hear the stars of tomorrow and being impressed by the quality of the talent.  These young artists are already performing professionally around the USA and abroad and/or recording.  We have them right here to enjoy and the recitals are free.  Take that, Cleveland!

Last night's program was bookended by barihunks.  Philip Stoddard, partnered by pianist Jung A. Bang opened with four selections from Mahler's Rückert-Lieder, performed with consummate sensitivity and musicality.  In "Ich atmet' einen linden Duft" one could sense the aroma in the air.  And just listen to what Mr. Stoddard did with the word "frühling"!  This delicacy was followed by the wry mood of "Blicke mir nicht in die Lieder" and the solitude of "Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen".  We were totally transported by the variety of moods.  The lovely Ms. Bang has an equally sensitive light touch on the keys.

Partnered by Kyung Hee Kim, soprano Lindsey Nakatani used her bright soprano to perform Walzer Gesänge by Alexander Zemlinsky, settings of poetry by Ferdinand Gregorovius which Ms. Nakatani translated herself.  These are songs with which we wish to become better acquainted.

We have heard Mr. Bielfield and his superb tenor several times before and it was exciting to see him grow in a new direction, performing two selections from Liszt's Tre Sonetti di Petrarca.  With excellent support from pianist Ari Livne he conveyed the anxiety and the passion of the poet in "Pace non trovo". 

Soprano Lilla Heinrich-Szász sang Sechs Lieder, Op. 48 of Edvard Grieg accompanied by Dan K. Kurland, a fine partnership if we ever heard one.  Many moods were expressed and we especially enjoyed the lighthearted "Lauf der Welt" and "Die verschwiegene Nachtigall" and the always lovely "Ein Traum".  Ms. Heinrich-Szász will have the stage to herself Saturday night at 8:30 and we will be there.

Soprano Lara Secord-Haid and pianist Art Williford sang four selections from Enrique Granados' Canciones Amatorias.  We always welcome the opportunity to hear Spanish songs and these were lovely.

Baritone Emmett O'Hanlon closed the program with some American songs, stepping out of the late 19th c. from whence came the other songs on the program.  Piano partner Lachlan Glen, well known from Schubert&Co's year long perusal of all of Schubert's 600+ songs, showed us a different aspect of his pianistic skills in the songs by Charles Ives which Mr. O'Hanlon sang with fine technique and depth of feeling.  The optimistic "He is there!" contrasted with the sad "In Flanders Fields".  In the former, flutist Daniel James added his silvery voice.  But it was in the final song that Mr. O'Hanlon was the most moving,  Lee Hoiby's setting of "Last Letter Home", an actual letter by Pfc. Jesse Givens who apparently lost his life in service to our country.  It was difficult to hold back the tears.

Let it be noted that the singers were all involved with their material and connected with the audience; they stepped forward away from the piano and used their entire bodies to convey the meaning of the song.  We have complained often about famous singers who hang onto the piano or who have not memorized the music and are so pleased to know that these young singers are not falling into those dreaded habits.

Mr. Stoddard's graduation recital will be April 8th at 8PM so if you missed his superb performance last night you will get another opportunity.

© meche kroop

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