Tara Erraught presented a powerful and personal programme for the latest Rosenblatt Recital. A beguiling combination of Lieder and testing Rossini and Mozart arias showcased her rich and expressive range as well as other impressive abilities.
The songs of Louis Spohr (1784-1859) are seldom heard. Erraught made a persuasive argument for them (from Opus 103) in the opening ‘Zwiegesang’ where voice and clarinet trill and vie for supremacy in a romantic evocation of Spring. ‘Das heimliche Lied’ has a more ominous style outlining the pains of love, with delicious piano interludes, and Erraught’s charm was beautifully conveyed in the unexpectedly hopeful conclusion. ‘Wach auf’ was given with youthful passion and energy, with Erraught’s nuanced understanding of Kuhleman’s text painting a picture of the natural world pulsating with longing and life.
Franz Lachner, a friend of Schubert, was also fond of voice, piano and clarinet. He set famous texts by Heine and Chamisso, and here showed off the extemporising skills of Ulrich Pluta, although there were moments when his instrument threatened to drown the subtleties of Erraught and Baillieu. Thankfully the balance for Schubert’s ‘The Shepherd on the Rock’ was perfect, the mood set by a gently swelling clarinet sound and gorgeous rich echoes as Erraught’s voice mimicked the alpine effects of distance, a magical atmosphere created through musicianship and sensitivity to the story of love, loss and renewed hope; Baillieu’s touch was exquisite.
In the second half Erraught’s developing mastery of operatic roles was displayed, including Cherubino’s ‘Voi che sapete’ (Figaro), infused with cheeky freshness; and Rossini – from the Barber of Seville and in the cantata Giovanna d’Arco – found her hit even greater heights of dramatic expression and vocal colour. The encores were ‘Parto, parto’ from La clemenza di Tito, then ‘Gortnamona’ (words by Percy French, Erraught’s Irish countryman) and Aaron Copland’s ‘Long Time Ago’.