Wednesday, 29 June 2011

My third Rosenblatt Recital of the series

Tuesday evening's performance by Vuyani Mlinde was yet another example of what the Rosenblatt Recital Series does so well. They choose talented up-and-coming preformers from around the globe, match them with well-respected accompanists, provide in-depth and extensive information about the music you are about to listen to, then put it all together in a great venue.

In addition, most (if not all) of these performances are recorded for the Rosenblatt Recital Series video channel, so you can relive the performance or send a link to give someone an idea of what they missed.

And Tuesday night, if you weren't at St. John's, Smith Square, you missed a great performance.

Vuyani's voice is a deep, rich baritone which was up to the task of solo recital. The recital differs from an opera performance in being that much clearer to the audience. There is no orchestra to drown out the nuances of richly textured voices, such as those I've heard at this recital series.

The program for the evening is listed below, in the order the songs and arias were performed. My favourites were the Tchaikovsky piece from Iolante, Respighi's Nebbie and the songs by Tosti and Gastaldon. Not to say he sung these any better than the rest of the programme, just pieces I preferred listening to.

A strange thing happened during the first Mozart aria, I found myself wanting to sing along. I don't know the word and I wasn't looking at the libretto, I just found myself wanting to sing along. I suspect that the reason is my own vocal range. I've heard a great deal of opera which highlights tenors, mezzos and sopranos and just enjoyed the music. But last night I realised I was listening to someone who had a similar range to mine. I would have failed terribly had I tried, but that gut-feeling was there throughout. Perhaps that is the enduring quality of opera, that everyone who listens hears something they want to, and perhaps can, sing along to? Not forgetting the great melodies, of course!

The programme for the evening showcased Vuyani's voice perfectly, no lack of strength in the lower register, no tailing off, and lots of humour too. Especially the encore. A degree of emotional intensity was required for Respighi's Nebbie, this didn't ruffle his feathers in the least. The Verdi arias possessed all the colours you would expect, Mozart's lightness, Tchaikovsky's lyricism were all there in technicolor.

Vuyani was in playful mood for the encore. A traditional german drinking song, 'Der mann im keller'. A man sits in a cellar rhapsodising upon the excellent qualities of his favourite alcoholic drink. Dropping from one octave to another with great precision. The audience wouldn't let him leave so he sang again the closing chorus of the drinking song, this time using different registers, rising to falsetto in places, dropping through a scale to the bottom of the register. In german and english. Seemingly comfortable singing both. And apparently more drunk on the song than the first rendition.

Praise must also go to Ingrid Surgenor, the pianist who provided accompaniment for the evening. Masterfully played throughout, never overpowering the songs.

I will follow this post very soon with a re-cap of the Rosenblatt Recital Series. Here is the list of work from the evening:

Se vuol ballare, Le nozze di Figaro
Madamina il castalogo e questo, Don Giovanni
Cosi dunque tradisci, Concert aria

Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt
Gospod moj, esli gresen ja, Iolanta

Come dal ciel precipita, Macbeth


Infelice! E tu credevi


L'ultima conzone

Musica proibita

Mentre gonfiarsi l'anima, Attila

Der mann im keller, Anon
Text: Carl Müchler, 1802
Musik: Ludwig Fischer, 1802

For those of you who missed Elizabeth Llewellyn, here is a video of her singing Walton:

And here is Serena Malfi singing the Vivaldi I enjoyed so much:

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