Last night's Rosenblatt Recital at St John's, Smith Square, was a true eye-opener.
Following two opening Handel Arias, Elizabeth's voice began to warm considerably. Elizabeth conveyed Countess Rosina's wistful state in her third piece; Mozart's 'Dove sono i bei momenti', from The Marriage of Figaro. Her powerful voice clear on all registers, every syllable audible regardless of the required dynamics, her control was second to none.
With the following five pieces by William Walton, Elizabeth exceeded my expectations. Flowing effortlessly from the quietest to the strongest phrases, up to the highest crescendi, swooping down again with admirable control. 'Old Wapping Stairs' was a joy to listen to, the depth of her voice becoming more apparent as more was required of it. Elizabeth appeared to be enjoying the Walton songs as much as the audience.
Following the interval came my surprise. I've heard Strauss lieder performed before and it's not really my thing, but Elizabeth's voice (and I must also mention the excellent accompaniment by Simon Lepper) made them seem new and refreshing. Five lieder later I came to appreciate R. Strauss a little more.
Fresh from her rôle as Mimi in La Bohème, we were treated to a warm and delicate piece, made all the more fragile by the clear enunciation of even the softest phrases. A very moving aria indeed.
Arias from Verdi's 'Simon Boccanegra' and Gounod's 'Faust' rounded of the evening's program superbly. The audience persuaded Elizabeth to come back for an encore of Michael Head's 'Sweet Chance'.
Elizabeth Llewellyn demonstrated not only that she has technical ability and is able to sing everything from baroque, through opera to lieder, but last night she also showcased the 'character' of her voice; that quality which makes a performer's voice unique and identifiable. It has warmth, depth and a richness all her own.
I wish her all the best in what will undoubtedly be a long and interesting career.
I'm looking forward to seeing her next at Hanover Square singing 'Summertime', possibly one of the best songs ever written.
Here's to the next in the Rosenblatt Recitals series, Italian mezzo-soprano Serena Malfi!
And don't forget to bookmark the Rosenblatt Recitals YouTube page in case you've missed any of the series and to view the upcoming video of Elizabeth Llewellyn.