|Ben San Lau, Ricardo Panela at St James's Church, Piccadilly|
Reviewed by Robert Hugill on Aug 26 2016
Lunchtime recital from young Portuguese baritone, with a group of 20th century art songs from his native company
The young Portuguese baritone Ricardo Panela gave a lunch time recital at St James's Church, Piccadilly as part of the Concordia Foundation series, on Friday 26 August 2016. Accompanied by pianist Ben San Lau, Panela gave a programme which traced the art song from France, through the Czech Republic (or perhaps more correctly Bohemia) and Italy to Portugal, with a trip to Argentina too. He sang Dvorak's Ziegeunermelodien, along with songs by Duparc, Tosti and Piazzolla, plus songs by two Portuguese composers Jorge Croner de Vasconcellos and Francisco de Lacerda.
They started with a pair of songs by Henri Duparc, Phydile and La vague et la cloche. Phydile is perhaps harder to bring off sung in a lower octave, but Panela displayed a nice sense of line, controlled and rather inward with a nice focussed town in the more animated moments. He took some time to relax and this first song seemed a little too understated, but his connection with the audience grew throughout the first few songs. I had never heard La vague et la cloche live before, and Panela brought a lovely virile tone to the piece, singing with an admirable evenness of tone across the whole range.