It was the “farewell to the Ensemble Studio” show for Vlad Soloviev and Jonah Spungin yesterday and they put on a great show enhanced by an informal, witty approach. Jonah’s singing was excellent. I especially liked his take on Wolf’s “Der Feuerreiter” and a set of Swedish songs by Wilhelm Peterson-Berger. He clearly has power to spare and can be subtle too. Nice going.
English baritone Roland Wood, accompanied by Simone Luti, gave a rather unusual, themed, recital n the RBA on Tuesday lunchtime. It was structured around the typical career path of a baritone and was narrated engagingly by Wood with lots of fun being had with the traditional rivalry between tenors (useless wimps who always get the girl) and baritones (evil sociopaths who never do).
Wednesday’s lunchtime’s concert in the RBA was a recital by baritone Önay Köse, currently singing Banquo at the COC, accompanied by pianist Stephen Hargreaves..There were three sets of four songs; the Ibert Quatre chansons de Don Quichotte. four pieces from Wolf’s Italienisches Liederbuch and the Brahms Vier Ernste Gesänge.
I have a written a couple of times in the last year about Alex Roth’s Songs in Time of War which sets poems by Du Fu in translations by Vikram Seth. The cycle was performed. again on Wednesday in the RBA by Lawrence Wiliford and friends just as they did last August in the Music Garden. My review of that performance gives information about the songs and the ensemble that it seems pointless to repeat.
Tuesday’s lunch time concert in the RBA featured some of the people involved in Against the Grain Theatre’s new, updated version of Bartók’s Duke Bluebeard’s Castle which opens next week at the Fleck Dance Theatre. There was an excellent descripttion of what the project was all about from Gerald Finley (Bluebeard) and Stephen Higgins (conductor and arranger – the orchestration is reduced to a seven person chamber ensemble).
It’s that time of year when departing members of the COC Ensemble Studio give their farewell recitals in the RBA. On Tuesday it was the turn of Midori Marsh and Alex Halliday and they did it in style. The programme was interesting and the music making excellent. Although they alternated sets it’s probably easy to deal with each singer in turn.
Luca Pisaroni, currently singing in the COC’s The Marriage of Figaro, and pianist Timothy Cheung performed in the RBA at Tuesday lunchtime. It was unusual and what was unusual was the choice of repertoire; rarely heard 19th century songs by composers who are much better known for opera. In fact I’m not sure I had heard any of the programme before.
Last evening saw the first post-plague edition of the Christina and Louis Quilico Awards competed for by the singers of the COC Ensemble Studio. Six of Ensemble’s seven singers competed with Vladimir Soloviev and Brian Cho providing piano accompaniment. It wasn’t the most thrilling Quilico Awards ever. The judges; Perryn Leech, Carolyn Sproule and Steven Philcox probably had a pretty easy time of it. So herewith how it came out.
It being Holocaust Remembrance Week it was entirely appropriate that Tuesday’s lunchtime concert in the RBA was given by the Likht Ensemble of Jaclyn Grossman, soprano, and Nate Ben-Horin, piano. The material was mostly drawn from music written/collected at either Theresienstadt or in the ghettos of Lithuania.
Tuesday’s lunchtime concert in the RBA was a really well thought out programme by two of the prize winners from last year’s Montreal International Music Competition; soprano Meredith Wolgemuth and pianist Jinhee Park. The first set was a nicely characterised version of the quite varied Grieg Sechs Lieder op.48. Most of these are fairly sentimental German Romantic texts but Meredith and Jinhee injected lightness and humour where it was appropriate in, for instance, “Lauf der Welt”.