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The Rosenblatt Recitals have become a fixture of London’s classical music scene since they started in 2000. Thanks to a new partnership with Opus Arte, selected recitals are now being made available on disc, and these three recordings are the first releases. They are pretty representative, too, with a blend of opera, Lieder and song provided by three excellent singers of the front rank – greatly esteemed, but not household names.

First comes Lawrence Brownlee’s recital, ‘This Heart that Flutters’, a mix of studio recordings and live excerpts from his recital at Wigmore Hall. Brownlee is a true tenore di grazia, his tone rich but honeyed, with the ability to taper a phrase with elegance while conveying a sense of purpose. He also provides some bravura singing with true Italianate squillo, and his technique is assured. Enunciating clearly across five languages, he inhabits his texts; but he sounds most at home in his native English, as in the two spirituals he sings, and in the more extravagantly bravura items such as Liszt’s Petrarch Sonnets and arias from La fille du régiment and Il turco in Italia (both live). Iain Burnside creates the musical moods with equal skill at the keyboard.

The same pianist plays beautifully for Ailyn Pérez in ‘Poème d’un jour’. One might fear the worst for this soprano: her beauty must be a marketer’s dream and one might fear for an overhyped talent leading to early burnout. But listening to this recording one realises that she possesses many attributes that hopefully will ensure a career of suitable longevity – fresh but sensual tone, plus the ability to spin a languorous line and to colour the words in a programme ranging from de Falla and Obradors to Massenet (as Manon, recorded live). Almost vocally impeccable, she conveys that elusive attribute, charm.

Anthony Michaels-Moore offers ‘Song of the Sea, Songs of Travel’, the briny element provided by Villiers-Stanford and the earthbound by Vaughan Williams, with effective accompaniment from Michael Pollock. Michaels-Moore’s baritone is still in fine shape, his diction is superb, but more tonal variation would have avoided a certain monotonous hectoring. He is at his interpretative best in the Vaughan Williams settings of Walt Whitman’s poems.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica


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