The GGS Vocal Showcase is an opportunity to see all the current vocal students at the school in recital. It’s interesting because it’s an opportunity to “talent spot” and to see how one’s favourites from previous years are progressing. But it’s important to calibrate. The talent on show ranges from first year undergrad to post grads. That’s a six year span; enough university to take one from A levels to PhD when I was a lad. Nobody should expect the standard to be even.
So how was it? First up was tenor Michael Dodge; an ADP (masters) student, singing selections from Derek Holman’s The Four Seasons. Bonus points for Canadian content and a pleasing, even voice but the vocal line wasn’t especially interesting and didn’t really give him much to work with. I thought these were songs where the piano part is more interesting!
Next we got three first year sopranos; Thalia Cook-Hansen, Ella Farlinger and Emma Heaton with an a cappella version of Thomas Morley’s Cease Mine Eyes. It was pleasant and appropriate rep. Then one of the highlights of the night for me; Victoria Del Mastro Vicente (2nd year soprano) and Christopher Miller (ADP tenor) with Pur ti miro. It’s a very beautiful duet of course and here it was sung with real beauty and feeling and a real sense of chemistry between the singers.
Diana Agasian (2nd year soprano) and Ella Farlinger plus David Liam Roberts on cello produced a pleasant and well sung version of Jake Heggie’s My True Love Hath My Heart, which unlike most Heggie songs didn’t bring me out in hives. If they can make me enjoy Heggie they are doing something right though it probably helps that the text is Sir Philip Sidney rather than Heggie’s usual sources.
La ci darem la mano is always a good bet for this kind of show and Thalia Cook-Hansen and the very smooth Benjamin Loyst (2nd year baritone) pulled off a nicely flirtatious and musically satisfying version. Promising! Anna Wojic and Vivien Illion (2nd year sopranos) performed two numbers from Mendelssohn’s 6 Duets. Pleasant, competently sung.
Another highlight was Noah Groves (ADP baritone) with O du, mein holder Abendstern. It’s a tricky piece and it was a classy sing. This was followed by a bravura performance of Meine Lippen, sie küssen so heiß by Giulianna Ida Misasi (ADP soprano) which suggested she might have quite a successful career in cabaret.
After the interval there was some OK Schumann from Adam Hu (3rd year baritone) and Tyler Cervini (ADP tenor) and then, wonder of wonders, a mezzo; Ariana Maubach (ADP) with Rossini’s Cruda sorte!. This was rather good with genuine mezzo colours coming as a pleasant change after all those light, bright sopranos. That said, the next light, bright soprano was actually rather good. Thera Barclay (ADP) produced a well controlled account of Eva Dell’Acqua’s Villanelle with some sparkly coloratura.
And then a soprano; Marta Woolner (ADP) who was not so light and bright and produced Io son l’umile ancella from Adriana Lecouvreur. This was a full blooded account showing some vocal heft.
Matters wrapped up with Christopher Miller and the company performing a spirited version of Kleinzach from Tales of Hoffmann. Oddly the second time recently I’ve heard it with a predominantly female chorus.
Piano accompaniment supplied with their usual finesses by Rachel Andrist, Peter Tiefenbach and Jennifer Tung.