Recital in Boston, December 1, 2006
Angelika Kirchschlager, mezzo-soprano
Malcolm Martineau, piano
Recital, Jordan Hall, Boston, Massachusetts, December 1, 2006, 8 p.m.
Angelika Kirchschlager, ably accompanied by pianist Malcolm Martineau, gave a recital on Friday evening December 1, 2006, at Jordan Hall in Boston. I estimate that the hall was half-empty. The event had originally been billed as a joint recital with Barbara Bonney, before Ms. Bonney chose to cancel her engagements for this year.
Ms. Kirchschlager, in a low-cut black gown, began the program with four English-language songs of Haydn. Unfortunately, the message that came across was that the singer does not enunciate very well. I could occasionally make out four or five words in a row, but most of the time I could not make out any, and would not even have known what language she was singing in. It is not that she does not know English, since she was quite capable of speaking dialogue in English when she was Valencienne in The Merry Widow in San Francisco.
There followed six songs in German by Grieg, and then four by Brahms. Her enunciation is better in German, but still not impressive for a recitalist. She had a similar approach to most of the songs. She could have been singing about anything or about nothing, but with a slight sense of urgency and some curious gestures of the arms. At one point I thought that the evening might have been more interesting if Malcolm Martineau had given a recital by himself without a singer.
After the intermission, she sang five songs of Schubert, and seven of Liszt, three of them in French and four in German. She was at her best in some of the better-known songs of Schubert. Perhaps she has sung them often enough to have developed some ideas about how to communicate them with something more than her usual superficial approach.
There were two brief encores, a song in German by Liszt and one in French by Poulenc. It seemed to me that she was being a little stingy with the encores. The whole thing was over before ten o’clock.
The program was a boring one to begin with, and she did not do much to make it interesting. Her on-stage persona is relatively cold. She does have a somewhat pretty voice, and it is loud enough. I can understand that she is capable of being a good member of an ensemble cast in an opera, say as Cherubino or as Octavian. As a recitalist, she is an opera singer singing songs, not a communicater of poems.
For the record, the two encores that Angelika Kirchschlager sang in Boston on December 1 were Liszt's "Es muss ein Wundesbares sein" and Poulenc's "Hôtel," according to Bank of America Celebrity Series Blog.
December 5, 2006
review for the Boston Globe of Angelika Kirchschlager's Jordan
Hall recital last Friday, David Perkins wrote, "She brought a rich if
stylistically narrow program of songs by Haydn, Grieg, Brahms, Schubert, and
Liszt. She and the British accompanist Malcom Martineau made a wonderful
team, almost too tight. Kirschlager [sic] was trained as a pianist, and she
sings like a well-schooled chamber musician, without straining for effect or
hanging onto notes. On the other hand, she doesn't surprise you with an
emotional insight or dramatic impulse.