Thanks to Christopher Dylan Herbert for taking us on a glorious winter trip last Wednesday, giving us something to be thankful for the next day. And thanks to the Austrian Cultural Forum and La Prima Volta for underwriting this project, giving talented young singers the opportunity to perform solo recitals in New York and Vienna.
Sensitively accompanied by the gifted Elaine Rinaldi, Mr. Herbert communicated every nuance of nine songs selected from Schubert’s “Die Winterreise”. His youthful and plangent baritone brought out every color--irony, sadness, bitterness, anger, despair and confusion. His German diction was so clear that I understood every word. Translations not necessary! I just want to hear Mr. Herbert sing the entire cycle. I am THERE!
I have heard it said that this cycle needs to be performed by someone older and more experienced but I beg to differ. Only a youngster would experience such intense experience from what seems to be the loss of a first love. And Mr. Herbert’s voice has that youthful bloom, especially when he uses his head voice in the beginning pianissimo. As the winter voyage continues, his voice deepens a bit as anger and despair take over. It seemed as if Mr. Herbert were telling his own story; now that’s performing!
The second half of the program comprised American songs which, with my bias against the English language, I do not feel capable of much comment. The audience seemed to enjoy these songs, especially a set commissioned by Mr. H, composed by David Sisco. Vernon Duke’s “Autumn in New York” was given a nice relaxed cabaret delivery which I did enjoy; and Marc Blitzstein’s “Zipperfly” was sung with a delightful sense of humor.
I wonder if this recital will be repeated in Vienna and how the Viennese will react!
-- Meche Kroop for The Opera Insider
5 days ago