Majesty, Murder and Madness

Friday night I went to see Teiya Kasahara and Stephanie Yelovich’s recital at First Unitarian.  Unusually for a voice and piano (Mark-Anthony Del Brocco) recital it was essentially all bel canto; a mix of Bellini and Verdi songs with some Donizetti opera excerpts (plus a duet from Norma as an encore).  It would be unusual programming for almost anyone and I was frankly a bit surprised because I don’t think of either singer as a bel canto specialist and, Teiya’s Lucia aside, a bel canto singer at all really.

I know that the event was a fundraiser to help pay for their summer in Italy studying mainly this rep and I guess, wherever one is headed as a singer, being able to sing bel canto well is an asset.  So maybe, to use a rugby analogy, it wasn’t so surprising that this felt a bit more like the training field than a competitive game; especially when the duets were both mezzo/soprano pieces being sung by two sopranos.

Both these young ladies have big voices.  Teiya in particular has real power, as well as coloratura chops, so perhaps she’s on the way to being that rare voice that can sing Norma and the Tudor queens.  Who knows?  Stephanie’s future probably lies north of the Alps though and it’s potentially a bright one.  I’ve seen these two ladies separately and together in contemporary works and they were really, really good.  Bel canto‘s not my sweet spot so maybe that’s part of the problem but I’m really not convinced it’s theirs either.

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One thought on “Majesty, Murder and Madness

  1. I had every intention of attending this on Friday and plans were foiled by a TTC bus that never arrived and then it was just too late to get there…grrrr! Just wanted to say that with Norma at least, I’m pretty sure historically that Adalgisa was sung by a soprano. The new, somewhat controversial, recording of Norma with Cecilia Bartoli uses a soprano Adalgisa (Sumi Jo) and I have a fantastic recording of one of the big duets with Renata Scotto and Mirella Freni. It’s often noted that using a soprano for that role grants her a somewhat younger, more “girlish” demeanor more in keeping with the character’s age.

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