Thursday, 19 August 2010

Vocal Recitals / David & Jonathan Tay / Brendan-Keefe Au & Lim Yanting / Review

David & Jonathan Tay
The Arts House
Tuesday (10 August 2010)
Brendan-Keefe Au & Lim Yanting
University Cultural Centre
Tuesday (17 August 2010)
This review was published in The Straits Times on 19 August 2010.

There have been an increasing number of voice students, to judge by the number of vocal recitals taking place of late. Some pursue their art overseas while local voice teachers have also been kept busy.

25-year-old twin tenors David and Jonathan Tay are undergraduates at the Manhattan School of Music in New York. They are no two peas in a pod. David has the richer tone, coming closer to the “heroic tenor”. In Vaughan Williams’ song cycle On Wenlock Edge, his ease of expression carried the gamut of emotions, from furtive hope to dark resignation. Assertive but not loud, he transcended the impressionist hues provided by the Artsylum Quartet and pianist Rachel Teoh.
Jonathan possesses a darker shade, more like a baritone’s. In five songs by Vaughan Williams, Quilter and Finzi, accompanied by pianist Valarie Wilson, he faithfully captured the moods and nuances, even if there was audible strain and approximate intonation in higher notes. In the Italian song segment, his guitar serenade from Rossini’s The Barber Of Seville provided a muted contrast from his brother’s booming Alfredo from Verdi’s La Traviata.

Together, their duet from Act IV of Puccini’s La Boheme was a touching moment. David sang Rodolfo while Jonathan sportingly settled for the baritone Marcello’s role. As they say, there can only be one primo tenore in a family.
Tenor Brendan-Keefe Au and soprano Lim Yanting, both non-music students at the National University of Singapore, provided what the title of their recital promised – an exquisite hour. Their selection of songs, accompanied by pianist Shane Thio, were mostly Romantic and about romantic love.

Being non-native to the German language, there was some unfamiliarity of pronunciation in Schubert and Hugo Wolf Lieder, and songs by Beethoven and Mozart. However in Italian, where mere expressions alone can bring out the amore, they seemed more at home.

Au’s ardent demeanor in Bellini’s Malinconia and Tosti’s La Serenata left little to the imagination, while Lim took flight in Arditi’s waltz song Il Bacio (The Kiss) even if she was occasionally overmatched by its dizzying coloratura. Her pair of Belle Epoque songs by Frenchman Reynaldo Hahn, and Au’s fine control in Quilter’s Now Sleeps The Crimson Petal were poignant and evocative, epitomes of grace.

Together, their flirtatious Schumann duet Unterm Fenster, acted out with a twinkle in the eye, brought the short evening to a delightful close.

1 comment:

Steven said...

RE the La Boheme encore, I think they were probably inspired by this performance. And I don't think singing baritone for Pavarotti made Domingo any less of a tenor, just a more versatile artist.