The final “Les Adieux” recital, by departing members of the COC’s Ensemble Studio, of the season was a performance by baritone Adrian Kramer of Schubert’s Die Schöne Müllerin, in its entirety, with Topher Mokrzewski at the piano. It was an ambitious choice and made for a somewhat longer performance than usual.
I’ve heard Die Schöne Müllerin often enough on record but this was the first time I had heard it live, in full. It really makes one realise that not only is it a very fine piece it’s also a far from easy sing encompassing a wide range of moods. Adrian is a fine singing actor and brought out the various moods with good German diction, careful attention to the text and good range of tone colour. He sounded best in the more lyrical numbers with some very sweet singing but was maybe having to push a little in the more dramatic sections.
Topher, as usual, was as much fun to watch as listen to. He’s never going to be a passive accompanist and he wasn’t here. He played with commitment and passion and brought out the piano part very well though maybe he was a bit loud for his singer in places.
Overall it was a very satisfying and enjoyable performance that was enthusiastically received by a packed audience. I’ll be most interested to see where Adrian’s career goes from here. He doesn’t have a huge voice but he’s a very good actor with a real flair for comedy. I think quite a lot of options are open to him.
The photo below gives a really good idea of what the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre is like as a space so I thought I’d include it. Both photos are by Karen E. Reeves.