Thursday, December 22, 2011

Stephanie Blythe Warms the Holidays in New Jersey Concert

Blythe brought Brahms and Bizet
to West Side Presbyterian Church
in Ridgewood, New Jersey
"'Geistliches Wiegenlied,' a cradle song from the Virgin Mary’s point of view, not only showcased Blythe’s commanding instrument — the firm golden core, the round, earthy lower register — but also her impeccable phrasing. She and her chamber music partners gave a communicative account of the piece, conveying the mother’s anxiety as well as her affection....On the more technical side, it would have been helpful if song translations were handed out at the beginning of the concert, rather than after intermission. This made Blythe’s rendition of Brahms’ Eight Gypsy Songs less approachable than they might otherwise have been. While a consummate performer throughout, Blythe sounded just slightly worn in some of the more animated selections. Still, in an impassioned plea for kindness from a lover in 'Kommt dir manchmal in den Sinn,' the waves of abundant sound that poured forth and swelled at key moments mesmerized. The lively dance of 'Brauner Brusche,' a meeting between a gypsy boy and a blue-eyed girl, also charmed...The concert concluded with selections from Carmen: first an assured, playful 'Seguidilla' and then the ubiquitous 'Habanera,' which Blythe made her own. She drew the listeners in, hushing the final lines of verses, leaving one wanting more and letting out a full-force battle cry with the chorus’ refrain — 'If I love you, watch out.'" [Source]

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