Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Mesmerized at lunch (Anna Huntley and James Baillieu/Wigmore)

Anna Huntley and James Baillieu - Wigmore Hall YCAT 30th anniversary series. 
It would be hard to imagine a programme with greater range of emotion than the one at the Wigmore Hall lunchtime concert; it served wonderfully to show Anna Huntley’s range and power. The present YCAT series celebrates the thirtieth anniversary of the Trust. It gives young artists to perform at the most important venue for chamber music and song in the UK. But there was nothing underdeveloped or jejune about the affecting and impressive display.
It started with the finest and hardest: two short song cycles. Rossini’s La regata veneziana  which Huntley not only sang wonderfully, but played the parts too; Schumann’s Gedichte der Königin Maria Stuart.  The intensity which Huntley served up, the dynamic range, was mesmerizing; Baillieu accompanied her very effectively, providing the acoustic and psychological landscape. Both were complemented by the fine, clear Wigmore acoustic.
The concert then turned cheerful with a range of single songs, mostly in Spanish: Joacquín Nin, El Vito; Ernarni Costa Braga, São Jaão-da-ra-rão, Guastavino, La rose y el sauce; Braga, Nighe-Nighe-Ninhas, and Capim di pranta. This served to show a broader range of vocal techniques and Huntley’s adaptability.
The final part turned to songs in English. Kurt Weill’s Saga of Jenny; Flanders, The Warthog. A slightly sombre tone came  with Noël Coward, If Love were all risked leaving us all in a funk. With Peter Winkler, Tamara, Queen of the Nile, we were lifted up and shown a way out of any sorrow.
Overall: mesmerizing.
More about Anna and James on the YCAT site. James has his own site, and was interviewed a wee while ago for the Telegraph.

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