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a night to treasure from Louise Alder, Ben Bliss and James Baillieu – Seen and Heard Worldwide

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United KingdomUnited Kingdom My Favorite Issues: Louise Alder (soprano), Ben Bliss (tenor) and James Baillieu (piano). Wigmore Corridor, London, 2.6.2024. (KMcD)

Louise Alder (soprano), Ben Bliss (tenor) and James Baillieu (piano)

There was a notable shift away from what is perhaps referred to as ‘classical programming’ to 1 that encompasses a much more eclectic alternative of repertoire at Wigmore Corridor of late. Rising star, countertenor, Hugh Slicing, included a few John Denver gadgets in his sensational lunchtime recital in Might, while in 2023 mezzo-soprano Alice Coote offered her Rebellious Recital, which I reported on right here. As soon as upon a time ‘crossover’ artists had been frowned upon, however fortunately lately a few of the best classical singers are usually not afraid to interrupt down boundaries and sing what they like singing.

Soprano Louise Alder, and tenor Ben Bliss are a working example. For his or her musical foray down the myriad paths and pitfalls of affection, they selected 24 numbers – some solos, some duets – that encapsulated a variety of musical kinds, but all tied properly into the overarching theme of ‘My Favorite Issues’. Separated into sections, every with a unique title that acted as emotional signposts to the songs contained in every one, each artists revelled within the contrasting kinds from composers as numerous as Berg, Britten and Gershwin, through Ray Charles, Wolf and Satie. Can fin-de-siècle Vienna and Broadway ever have been such convivial bedfellows?

Alder started the journey with a perfectly-poised, rapt rendition of Berg’s Nacht from 7 frühe Lieder, her glistening soprano filling out Berg’s hovering phrases to perfection, earlier than Bliss enchanted with a gloriously evocative efficiency of Richard Strauss’s Heimliche Aufforderung (Secret Invitation). He possesses a agency, exceptionally well-schooled tenor, suffused with a diamante high quality. He phrased and enunciated the textual content with exemplary care and wasn’t afraid to let his lyrical voice of the leash on the tune’s climax.

Given the wide-ranging alternative of repertoire, there was room for loads of humour as nicely. Alder introduced a wholesome dose of sarcastic wit to Schoenberg’s Mahnung (Warning) from Brettl-Lieder – not afraid to make use of some chest voice to get throughout the sarcasm within the textual content, while Bliss’s wordless, impersonation of a trumPet, did full justice to Satie’s Petit recueil des fêtes from his Enfant-martyre. Each artists caught the correct tone for an ebullient tackle Richard Rodgers’s Folks Will Say We’re in Love (Oklahoma), with Alder occurring to captivate the viewers with a scrumptious model of My Favorite Issues (The Sound of Music), permitting this evergreen tune to come back throughout with a freshness and spontaneity.

Alder discovered half-lights and displayed a myriad of vocal colors in a languid rendition of Debussy’s Le jet d’eau (The fountain) that transported the viewers to a realm of tranquillity, earlier than Bliss lulled us to the world of desires in Ravel’s beautiful, Chanson des cueilleuses de lentisques (Music of the lentisk gatherers). We had been even handled to a little bit of waltz throughout Berlin’s Isn’t this a beautiful day, earlier than Bliss introduced the home down with a spine-tingling efficiency of Ray Charles’s Hallelujah I Love Her So. Right here, Bliss was in his component, simply at residence with the jazz idiom. While some classically-trained tenors discover the transition to non-operatic repertoire problematic, this appeared like second nature to Bliss, his tone free, his singing on level.

After the interval Bridge and Britten dominated the primary part of the second half, with Alder giving a dramatic and fiery interpretation of Love went a-riding, later revelling within the absurdity and comedy of Inform me the Fact about Love, while Bliss drew out the light, lilting nature of The final rose of summer season.

It was again to Broadway for an brisk duet, Kern’s I Received’t Dance, earlier than Bliss gained over all hearts with a vigorous Oh, Girl be Good (Gershwin). There was a change in temper with Strauss’s Befreit (Launched) which Alder sang with innate rapture and resignation, earlier than the night concluded with extra Rodgers and a scintillating efficiency of Hart’s The place or When (Babes in Arms).

All through, accompanist James Baillieu caught each shifting temper to perfection, ably supporting each singers, who had been clearly having a ball – their exuberance was infectious, as evidenced by the grins on the faces of the departing viewers. This was a night to treasure, the place the gamble of selecting such eclectic songs greater than paid off.

Keith McDonnell

Invitation
Berg – 7 frühe Lieder: Nacht
R. Strauss – Heimliche Aufforderung, Op.27 No.3
Schoenberg – Brettl-Lieder: Mahnung
Satie – Petit recueil des fêtes: Enfant-martyre
Gershwin – Oh, Kay!: Somebody To Watch Over Me
RodgersOklahoma!: Folks Will Say We’re in Love

Insanity in Love
Satie – Daphénéo
Wolf – Italienisches Liederbuch: Mein Liebster ist so klein
Satie – Le chapelier
Rodgers – The Sound of Music: My Favorite Issues

Amour
Debussy – 5 poèmes de Baudelaire: Le jet d’eau
Ravel – 5 mélodies populaires grecques: Chanson des cueilleuses de lentisques
Berg – 7 frühe Lieder: Liebesode
Berlin – Isn’t this a beautiful day?
Ray Charles – Hallelujah I Love Her So

Problems
Bridge – Love went a-riding
Britten – The final rose of summer season; Cabaret songs: Inform me the Fact about Love
Rodgers – Ever Inexperienced: Dancing on the Ceiling
Kern – I Received’t Dance
Gershwin – Girl, Be Good: Oh, Girl be Good!

Separation
R. Strauss – Befreit, Op.39 No.4
Matt Dennis – The Evening We Referred to as It a Day

Remembering
Gershwin – Shall We Dance?: They Can’t Take That Away From Me
Rodgers – He was too good to me; The Sound of Music: One thing Good; Babes in Arms: The place or When

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