Monday, 9 November 2015

Going for the emotion (Wigmore/Erraught)

Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition Showcase  (Tara Erraught mezzo-soprano; James Baillieu piano at the Wigmore Hall)
Tara Erraught offered a genuinely impressive showcase yesterday afternoon. The programme opened with Songs of a Wayfarer, one of Mahler's most immersive song-cycles. My preferences for it would be a male voice (Gerhaher or Hampson, perhaps), and an orchestra. But able accompaniment from James Ballieu made this memorable for its sheer emotion. It demonstrated the tactical choice which was made too: emotion was privileged over demonstration of technical skills. Rather than fine-grained detail, long, luscious lines or colourtura, the audience were hit - full-bore as it were -with emotional firepower. Baillieu seemed too to match this - what a first seemed slightly uneven playing was actually designed (or at least served) to match Erraught's approach perfectly. And the results were deeply impressive.
The Copland selection which followed were folksy and well done; an Irish-American tribute, perhaps.
A selection of exquisite Strauss songs followed. Surely there are few songs perfect than Morgen. It was again done justice in the emotional way - perhaps not as fine as (Joyce DiDonato's encore in April) but scarcely less touching. Cäcilie draw the Strauss section to a close. 
The programme finished with an aria each from Rinaldo and Il barbiere. Not bad for an hour.
Overall: maximum emotional and plentiful skill. If this is a competition, then we have a winner!

Full programme:
Gustav Mahler (1860-1911): Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen
Aaron Copland (1900-1990): Old American Songs I and II
Long time ago
Simple Gifts
At the river
Richard Strauss (1864-1949): Acht Gedichte aus 'Letzte Blätter' Op. 10
No. 8 Allerseelen
No. 1 Zueignung
No. 3 Die Nacht
Ständchen Op. 17 No. 2
Morgen Op. 27 No. 4
Cäcilie Op. 27 No. 2
George Frideric Handel (1685-1759): Rinaldo HWV7
Aria: Lascia ch'io pianga
Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868): Il barbiere di Siviglia
Una voce poco fa
As an encore: "Non v'e donna piu felice" from Balfe's Falstaff. Another touching Irish connexion.

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