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.

Saturday, May 4, 2013


Lachlan Glen, Kyle Bielfield, Andy McCullough, Kristin Gornstein
As the New York opera season draws to a close, so does Schubert&Co.'s perusal of Franz Schubert's output of over 600 songs.  What an opportunity we have had all year, hearing rising stars of the opera world up close and personal in the rather intimate venue of Central Presbyterian Church.  If you have attended regularly, as we have, you know whereof I speak.  If you have not, you have only a few more opportunities to appreciate this remarkable endeavor of collaborative pianists and Co-Artistic Directors Lachlan Glen and Jonathan Ware.  Today there is a 3PM recital that sounds enticing but the 8PM recital is an absolute necessity for lieder lovers when the incomparable baritone Ed Parks will sing Schwanengesang.

Last night's recital offered mezzo-soprano Kristin Gornstein and two very different but equally impressive tenors, both known from former years when getting their Master's Degree from Juilliard.  The texts were by Mayrhofer whom, as Mr. Lachlan suggested in his introductory remarks, was likely a devoted partner to Schubert since they slept in the same bed for years.  Furthermore, poor Mr. Mayrhofer defenestrated himself shortly after poor Schubert met an untimely end.  Would that they both had lived longer and created more songs!

Andy McCullough has a powerful tenor and shone especially in "Schlaflied" and "Rückweg" in which he demonstrated low notes a baritone would envy.  Perfectly partnered by Mr. Glen, the pair demonstrated perfect control of dynamics.  We were rather taken by the poignant melody of "Rückweg".

Kyle Bielfield is a tenor of a different sort--gentle, sweet and endearing.  The two songs he performed with intense involvement were said to be representative of Schubert and Mayrhofer's awareness of their "outsider" status and perhaps a reflection of their putative secret relationship.  The loneliness of being different is expressed in "Abendstern, D.806" while "Nachtviolen, D.752" references a sacred union.  Mr. Bielfield lovingly caressed each vowel in a moving display of erotic love.

To Kristin Gornstein was given a quartet of songs, the most delightful of which was the drinking song "Zum Punsche".  How we love a good drinking song!  She has a true mezzo quality in her voice and Mr. Glen's piano brought out the thunder referenced in "Abendlied der Furstin" and some very gentle harp-like sounds in "Liedesend".  And just listen to the postlude of "Atys"!  Absolutely transporting!

We urge you to attend this weekend; you will not be disappointed.  Au contraire, you will be thrilled.

© meche kroop

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