"Ces lettres" from Werther
Robin Flynn, mezzo-soprano and Natalia Katyukova, piano
"Il lacerato spirito" from Simon Boccanegra
Kevin Thompson, bass and Michael Spassov, piano
"In fernem Land" from Lohengrin
Kevin Ray, tenor and David Hanlon, piano
"Měsíčku na nebi hlubokém" from Rusalka
Janai Brugger-Orman, soprano and Michael Spassov, piano
* Notes *
Jane Eaglen gave a master class for the Merola Opera Program last night at Herbst Theatre. The evening included a diverse repertoire as well as many different voice types. Sidney Outlaw started off with Zoroastro's Act III aria from Orlando. Eaglen noticed that the aria started a bit low for Outlaw, and questioned him about the ornamentation, which he had written that afternoon. She suggested lifting the breath and got Outlaw to sound brighter, more open, and less like he was singing Monteverdi. Robin Flynn sang Massenet next, her voice is has a pure, light quality. Eaglen teased Flynn about being an athlete, as the latter recently did an Alcatraz swim and plans to run the San Francisco Marathon. Natalia Katyukova played "Ces lettres" beautifully, perhaps with a touch more extravagance than strictly necessary. Bass Kevin Thompson sang Fiesco's romanza "Il lacerato spirito," as he did at the Auditions for the General Director, but this performance was more vivid. Eaglen praised the great resonance and colors of Thompson's voice, and asked him to place the breath higher so he did not have to reach for the higher notes.
Kevin Ray sang Lohengrin's Narration in Act III with the music, as the piece is new to him. There was a good deal of tension in the voice and one could hear his breathing distinctly. Eaglen got him to relax, and told him that "mushy was good." Ray was able to sing more legato and with less strain. The performance ended with Janai Brugger-Orman, singing the gorgeous "Song to the Moon." Her voice is both sweet and icy. When Eaglen had her relax the jaw and use more control, Brugger-Orman sounded more fluid.
* Tattling *
Jane Eaglen is charmingly self-effacing, and joked that it was obvious she did marathons just like Ms. Flynn. She also mentioned that the key to high notes was in squeezing the bottom, and since she had a big bottom, she had big high notes.