Danika Lorèn and co. aka Collectìf were back today with a lunctime show in the RBA. Like their previous shows this was a themed, more or less staged, series of art songs. This program was inspired by Verlaine’s Fêtes galantes and featured all French texts set by a range of composers. Most of it was pretty typical chansons of the fin de siècle; material I find pleasant enough but not especially compelling. The surprise, and a very welcome one, was four pieces by Reynaldo Hahn setting texts by Charles, duc d’Orléans and Faullin de Banville. Here Hahn turned his flair for vocal and pianistic colour to great effect producing pieces strangely evocative of the Renaissance. Fancifully perhaps, I could imagine these being sung at the court of Philip the Good (assuming of course that he had a piano…)
The staging was simple – really just a few props – almost like kids playing dress up but it caught the languorous, flirtatious, playful mood of most of the songs very well. The singing was first class too. Danika was joined by regulars Whitney O’Hearnn and Jennifer Krabbe as well as special guests Adam Harris (complete with man bun) and Matthew Dalen. All three of the girls have come on remarkably since they started Collectìf. Danika’s voice has gained in power, flexibility and colour range, Whitney has become a very solid performer with some smokey mezzo tones and Jennifer’s voice, while still light and bright, has developed a depth and resonance I hadn’t heard before. The guys are amongst the best of the current crop at UoT and didn’t disappoint. There was also some really nice ensemble singing at the beginning and the end. And Tom King kept things going at the piano with not a moments pause as he switched pieces and composers with aplomb. All in all, it was a well conceived and executed entertainment.
Sorry about the photo – iPhone in a very brightly backlit RBA not ideal! Hopefully something better will come in.