Azaleas, Roses and Lilacs

Elena Tsallagova and Sandra Horst entertained the crowd in the RBA yesterday with a flower themed recital of French and Russian songs.  It was a very well chosen selection that allowed Ms. Tsallagova to display her versatility.  From Debussy’s quite operatic Rondel chinois, where she showed a lot of power for a young lyric soprano, through the varied moods of Bizet’s Feuilles d’album where by turns she was dramatic, sombre and very playful.  Throughout she was extremely demonstrative while managing excellent phrasing and impeccable French.  She has an interesting range of colours too, from extremely bright through to quite covered and dark and she’s not afraid to use them.  Actually, the way she threw herself into the material I don’t think she is afraid of much!


The Russian songs were equally varied.  Only a Russian could call a song Where are you, little star? and come up with something as bleak as Mussorgsky.  Tchaikovsky’s To forget so soon is pretty dark too.  Both of this got the soulful Russian treatment.  The rest of the material was lighter and more lyrical and the final number, Rimsky-Korsakov’s Oriental Romance, Op. 2, No. 2, allowed her to toss off some pretty impressive high notes.  Her encore, a folk song setting by Alexander Varlamov, was joyful and exuberant.



So we got versatile and accomplished singing in a range of moods, all beautifully accompanied by Ms. Horst but I think what was equally striking was Tsallagova’s exuberance, emotional commitment and sense of fun.  It was easy to see why she is so captivating on the opera stage.

Photocredits: Lara Hintelmann

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