Monday 10 March 2014

Kate Lindsey at Lied in London

Kate Lindsey - picture credit James Salzano
Kate Lindsey 
picture credit James Salzano
Gary Matthewman's Lied in London concert series presented a recital by the American mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey last night. Lindsey, accompanied by Matthewman on piano gave us a fascinatingly varied programme of songs by Mozart, Mahler, Debussy, Berlioz, Rossini and Schoenberg. Lindsey made her Glyndebourne debut last year as the Composer in Richard Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos (see my review and my interview with Kate). 

Lindsey and Matthewman started with a group of Mozart songs: the early Ridente la Calma gave us a dramatic start, followed by the charming Oiseaux, si tous les ans and a characterful Als Luise di Briefe ihres ungetreuen Liebhavers verbrannte. Next came Mahler's Ruckert Lieder, with Lindsey gradually deepening her interpretation as the cycle progressed leading to a thrillingly dark Um Mitternach, and a final magical Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen. The first half concluded with Debussy's Trois chansons de Bilitis, each song different but each profoundly erotic in its way. In both the Mahler and Debussy, Lindsey was beautifully supported by Matthewman's subtly idiomatic playing.

Before Berlioz's Zaide, Lindsey invited a member of the audience to join in playing the castanet part. No-one volunteered and no castanet was needed as Lindsey's performance brought out the Spanish cast of the song beautifully. A finely poised and rather moving account of Berlioz'z La mort d'Ophelie followed. Next came Rossini's La regata veneziana, three songs in Venetian dialect describing a young woman's activities before, during and after the regata in which her lover is rowing. Lindsey turned them into a mini comic opera; a real delight. Finally three of Schoenberg's Brettl-Lieder in which Lindsey and Matthewman managed to bring out the songs cabaret background, without disguising their more complex moments. We had one encore, a lovely account of an Ivor Novello song.

Lindsey sang all the songs from memory and proved a versatile and highly communicative recitalist, using her beautiful voice, with its lovely dark hints, to great effect. As ever, Gary Matthewman was a stylish and supportive accompanist in all the varied songs.  

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