|Art Williford, Valeriya Polunina, Eva Gheorghiu, Angela Vallone|
There will be more reviews this week but let us focus on last night's satisfying recital at Juilliard where we heard two fine sopranos, both students of Edith Wiens.
Eva Gheorghiu (no relation to Angela) has a crystalline tone and a fine sense of drama. She performed two very different arias: "Frère! Voyez!" from Jules Massenet's Werther and "Prendi, per me sei libero" from Gaetano Donizetti's L'Elisir d'Amore. In the first, young Sophie tries to cheer up the morose Werther and Ms. Gheorghiu captured the spirit and nailed the French diction.
In the latter, Adina lets Nemorino know that she has bought back his military contract and that she loves him; she tells him with flights of rapturous coloratura, leaving us enraptured.
A quintet of songs by Prokofiev which she herself translated permitted her to demonstrate a lovely diminuendo and strength in the lower register. Valeriya Polunina accompanied with a light sensitive touch and fleet fingering.
Soprano Angela Vallone, working with the excellent collaborative pianist Art Williford, performed songs in Russian, French and Swedish. We just saw her three days earlier performing in a cabaret and were impressed by her versatility.
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's "The Nightingale and the Rose" has the most exotic melody and delighted the ear. In Rachmaninoff's lavish "In the silence of the mysterious night", Ms. Vallone allowed the passionate sentiment into her voice to fine effect.
A pair of Debussy songs--"Regret" and "Paysage Sentimental" were delivered in fine French that was understandable without the printed text.
But where Ms. Vallone truly shone was in the concluding set of songs by Jean Sibelius with which she clearly connected. We have always loved "Var det en dröm?" but it was "Flickan kom ifrån sin älsklings mote" that truly spoke (or, rather, sang) to us because of her deep involvement.
Stay tuned for more "buds" tomorrow!
© meche kroop