Off Centre Music Salon concluded their 2015/16 season with their 21st annual Schubertiad concert. It kicked off, in normal OC style with young artists. In this case Kallas and Vikas Chari with a very competent rendering of the Allegro vivace from the Marches Militaires. Then it was onto the main event; tenor Jeffrey Ollarsaba and Boris Zarankin performing Die Schöne Müllerin. It was good. Ollarsaba has quite a light, bright, rather pretty tenor and he can float rather beautiful high notes. I don’t know how it would go in a big opera house but it was well suited to the music and the relatively intimate Trinity St. Paul’s. His diction and phrasing were close to ideal and his vocal acting was appropriately expressive without getting histrionic. Some would consider him a bit over demonstrative in the hand and face gestures department but that rather seems to be the American way with lieder. Zarankin accompanied sensitively. He can play quite beautifully but he was also quite aggressively percussive in the more dramatic sections. All in all most satisfying. The concert concluded with Ilana Zarankin and clarinetist Colleen Cook joining Boris for Der Hirt aus dem Felsen. It’s a curious work; somewhere between a lied and a concert aria with it’s many repeated sections and variations. There was some really beautiful clarinet playing here which worked very well with Ilana’s bright timbre. So, a pleasant way to spend an April Sunday afternoon but a bit of a downer to head out of a concert that pretty much concludes with “Der Frühling will kommen, Der Frühling, meine Freud'”into a snowstorm. Some Frühling!
The coming week may be the last quiet one before May madness sets in. This afternoon Off Centre Music Salon have their 21st annual Schubertiad. Ilana Zarankin and Jeffrey Ollarsarba will sing Die Schöne Müllerin and Der Hirt auf dem Felsen with Boris Zarankin and Ina Perkiss at the piano. It’s at 3pm at Trinity St. Paul’s. Apart from that there’s really only (only!) the opening of the COC’s production of Bizet’s Carmen on Tuesday. That, of course, is at the Four Seasons Centre.