A Memorable Cherubino Meets a Memorable Guitarist

04/04/2016

García Lorca, Granados, Albéniz, Rodrigo, Montsalvatge, Tárrega, and Falla: Isabel Leonard (mezzo-soprano), Sharon Isbin (guitar), Perelman Theater, Kimmel Center, Philadelphia, 29.3.2016 (BJ)

García Lorca: from Canciónes españolas antiguas: “El café de Chinitas,” “Romance de Don Boyso,” “Anda, jaleo”
García Lorca, arr. Isbin: Los mozos de Monleón, Zorongo, Las morillas de Jaén, Sevillanas del sigolo XVIII; arr.
Emilio de Torre/Isbin: La Tarara
Granados: Spanish Dance No. 5
Albéniz, arr. Segovia: Asturias
Rodrigo: Aranjuez ma pensée
Montsalvatge, arr. Isbin: from Cinco canciónes negras: “Canción de cuña para dormir a un negrito,” “Canto negro”
Tárrega: Recuerdos de la Alhambra
Falla, arr. Pujol/Llobet: Siete canciónes populares españolas

Of all the starry performers to have appeared in the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society’s current season, few can be accounted starrier than the Metropolitan Opera’s Cherubino. Having been bowled over not long ago by Isabel Leonard’s portrayal of that role, I approached her all-Hispanic recital with guitarist Sharon Isbin with the highest expectations—and if anything she surpassed them.

Ms. Leonard comes by her fluency in Spanish honestly, being of Argentinean descent of her mother’s side. Linguistic clarity was matched in her performances by an expressive freedom and a bloom of tone that few singers of our time could have rivaled, in this or any repertoire: not yet beyond her mid-thirties, she is already a great singer. The first half of the program, including some of Federico García Lorca’s musical settings both for voice and in solo guitar arrangements by Ms. Isbin, was satisfying enough. But it was after intermission, with a profoundly touching performance of Joaquín Rodrigo’s magical and poignant Aranjuez ma pensée, that the gleaming mezzo-soprano voice opened up still further in tone, attaining a new level of communicative intensity that was maintained to the end of the evening through some agreeable pieces by Montsalvatge and Tárrega, and a superb account of Falla’s more familiar Seven Spanish Folk-Songs.

Throughout this memorable recital, Isbin proved to be an entirely worthy partner for Ms. Leonard, her guitar supplying an inexhaustible wealth of telling detail and vivid rhythm. And both performers—who, in touches of verbal comment, enjoyed a charmingly informal rapport with each other and with the audience—looked as stunning as they sounded. I hope it will not be long before they are back, to delight us with their excavations from a repertoire that still deserves to be further explored.

Bernard Jacobson

Print Friendly

Comments

Leave a Reply

Recent Reviews

MW

Facebook-button-1

Season Previews

__________________________________
  • NEW! Bampton Classical Opera Celebrates its 25th Anniversary with Nicolò Isouard’s Cinderella __________________________________
  • NEW! Pop-Up Opera’s 2018 Mozart Double Bill __________________________________
  • NEW! Zurich Opera in 2018/2019 __________________________________
  • NEW! Let’s Dance International Frontiers (LDIF) 2018 Celebrates its Eighth Year __________________________________
  • NEW! Gloucester Choral Society’s Hubert Parry’s Centenary Celebrations in May 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Chess at the London Coliseum from 26 April for 5 Weeks __________________________________
  • NEW! The Three Choirs Festival 2018: A Preview __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018/19 Season at the Royal Opera House __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018 Cheltenham Music Festival – 30 June to 15 July __________________________________
  • NEW! Staatsoper Unter de Linden in 2018/19 __________________________________
  • NEW! St Petersburg Ballet Theatre Bring Swan Lake to London in August __________________________________
  • NEW! English National Ballet Announces its 2018-19 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! The Cleveland Orchestra’s 2018-19 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Booking Open for Longborough Festival Opera 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Additional Tickets Now Available for Nevill Holt Opera’s Le nozze di Figaro __________________________________
  • NEW! Leeds Lieder’s Four-Day Celebration of Art Song in April 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! World Premiere by Novaya Opera of Pushkin – The Opera in the Theatre in the Woods __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • NEW! Chelsea Opera Group Perform Massenet’s Thaïs at the Cadogan Hall on 23 June __________________________________
  • UPDATED! Carly Paoli Sings for Chelsea Pensioners, at Cadogan Hall, and Signs for Sony/ATV __________________________________
  • NEW! A Q&A WITH ITALIAN BARITONE FRANCO VASSALLO __________________________________
  • NEW! A First Charity Classical Music Concert at Finchcocks on 27 May __________________________________
  • NEW! MICHAEL SANDERLING IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • NEW! HOW TO CONTACT SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL __________________________________
  • NEW! Trinity Laban Moves to Abolish All-Male Composer Concerts __________________________________
  • NEW! ARABELLA STEINBACHER IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • NEW! Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella in Cinemas on 15 May with Live Q&A __________________________________
  • NEW! THE CONDUCTOR LAURENCE EQUILBEY IN CONVERSATION WITH COLIN CLARKE __________________________________
  • NEW! Newly Discovered Song by Alma Mahler to be Performed in Oxford and Newbury __________________________________
  • NEW! A Q&A WITH LISETTE OROPESA AS SHE RETURNS TO LA OPERA FOR ORFEO ED EURIDICE __________________________________
  • NEW! A Q&A WITH ANDREA CARÈ AS HE RETURNS TO COVENT GARDEN AS DON JOSÉ __________________________________
  • NEW! Rafael de Acha Introduces Some of Cincinnati’s New Musical Entrepreneurs __________________________________
  • Search S&H

    Archives by Week

    Archives by Month