Repose and Dream

I was at a really rather nicely programmed recital at Rosedale Presbyterian yesterday afternoon.  Rachel Andrist, who played piano throughout, had lined up a really interesting selection of singers.  Some were known to me, some were new.  Some were fresh out of college and some had quite a bit of experience.  The programme was in two halves.  In the first half each of the six singers got to do two or three songs while in part two there were some opera numbers and some seasonal stuff arranged for various combinations of voices.

I really don’t see as much of Danielle MacMillan as I would like and here she impressed with a couple of Santoliquido songs.  There was plenty of power and it was all well controlled.  Sara Schabas chipped in with some Fauré and Chausson.  I like where her voice is going.  There’s a nice sheen on the upper register and it’s coming together.  Jocelyn Fralick gets bonus marks for singing Strauss and doing it very well too.  Her phrasing and breath control were excellent and she didn’t trip over the tricky bits.

Then there was Nicole Percifield.  She’s a mezzo who’s been around for a while but in the States and Europe and has only just switched back from, I am told, an ill advised experiment as a soprano.  Anyway, the voice has mezzo all over it and it’s lovely.  She gave us an excellent account of Barber’s Sleep now and a brilliant version of Elgar’s Where corals lie.  I could rave about this for a while but let’s just say, think young Janet Baker.  I’m not exaggerating.  I hope we see more of her around town and soon.

Jonelle Sills sang some Brahms with boldness, accuracy and sheer beauty of tone.  I especially enjoyed a very lively Meine liebe ist grün.  Jessica Scarlato rounded out the first half with some robust and very Italianate Verdi and Tosti.

After the break there were three operatic interludes.  Two were from Rosenkavalier.  Danielle and Sara sang the Presentation of the Rose scene very touchingly and were joined later by Jessica for the trio.  I didn’t think the blend of voices was ideal here and it got kind of mushy but Danielle and Sara got back on form with a lovely Hab mir’s gelobt. In between the Strauss excerpts Nicole sang Charlotte’s letter scene from Werther.  Lovely singing but still, alas, Werther.

Then it was on to a mix of Christmassy stuff arranged for different voices and sung from all over the church.  It was an apt and well executed finish to a well thought out programme.

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