Saturday, February 8, 2014

John Malveaux: San Diego Opera Buffs review Soprano Nicole Cabell in recital

Nicole Cabell (Devon Cass)

John Malveaux of sends this link:

San Diego Opera Buff
On February 4, soprano Nicole Cabell appeared in recital at the Auditorium of the TSRI (The Scripps Research Institute, formerly The Neurosciences Institute) along with members of the San Diego Symphony, who not only accompanied the soprano, but also played instrumental works as well.  This program was part of an ongoing series of chamber music evenings featuring members of the Symphony.  Having seen Nicole Cabell in San Francisco Opera’s I capuleti ed i montecchi, also having heard of her excellent reputation, we eagerly attended.

The program consisted almost exclusively of French music, the one exception being an early work by Mikhail Glinka.  All the vocal music was French, a repertory of which I am not particularly familiar.  All-in-all, I can say it was a beautiful evening of listening. 

First up was Maurice Ravel’s beautiful setting of five Greek songs,  (Cinq Melodies Popolaires Grecques) accompanied by harp, instead of piano, played by the Symphony’s Julie Smith Phillips.  These songs themselves were beautiful, but perhaps due to insufficient warm-up, Nicole Cabell’s voice seemed to possess a bit of a hard edge.  However, during the subsequent Quatre Poemes Hindous, by Maurice Delage, the voice improved, and this work, which included ten instrumental accompanists, was fascinating, incorporating, as it did, exotic, seemingly Indian sounding music.
The first part of the program concluded with Ravel’s 1905 Introduction and Allegro for several instruments, but featuring the harp, which was the instrumental highlight of the evening.  Listening to this, I knew I had heard it somewhere before, but did not know where.  It sounded like quintessential Ravel.  Harpist Julie Smith Phillips took a well-deserved and well-applauded solo bow.

Mikhail Glinka’s early 1832 work, Trio Pathetique in D minor for clarinet, bassoon and piano, written while he was studying in Italy, successfully opened the second half of the evening, but then was followed by the evening’s vocal highlight. Ernest Chausson’s Chanson Perpetuelle, the title referring to the subject matter of the text-being loved and then abandoned.  Accompanied by a piano and string quartet, Cabell was simply outstanding in this work, capturing perfectly the agonized mood of this piece. 

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