Lost in a Russian Forest

SONY DSCCroatian bass Goran Jurić is currently making his North American debut as Sarastro in the COC’s Magic Flute.  Today he gave a lunchtime recital with Anne Larlee in the RBA.  It was an all Russian programme; Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov and Sviridov.  I don’t want to do a blow by blow review because I don’t know the rep well enough and it seems a bit pointless.  Instead let’s talk about Jurić as an artist, as shown by his performance here (and not surprisingly as Sarastro).  He’s a genuine bass, no messing.  The low notes are all there and the timbre is rich and dark when he wants it to be.  But he’s also extremely lyrical.  He can lighten up without ever stopping sounding like a bass.  It’s a most pleasant combination.  He’s also a terrific storyteller.  This seems like an odd thing to say about a recital where not a word was spoken and all the songs were in a language I scarcely understand at all, yet I felt he was communicating the essence of the text with great clarity as a good lieder singer must.  Anne was great as an accompanist too.  There was quite a lot of range in the piano parts from quite delicate and playful in some of the Sviridov to cranking the pedals up to 11 in some of the Rachmaninov.  A very good way to spend one’s lunch break.

Besides, it was great to see Anne Larlee back at the Four Seasons Centre and to discover a young bass who I want to hear a lot more of.  Fortunately he’s back next season as Osmin in Entführung.

Photo credit: Karen E. Reeves

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