An Evening with Victoria De Los Angeles

Author: 
Alan Blyth

An Evening with Victoria De Los Angeles

  • (Il) Pirro e Demetrio
  • (Il) Zingari in fiera, Chi vuol la zingarella
  • Se tu m'ami
  • (La) Serva Padrona
  • (9) Lieder, No. 8, Heimweh II - O wüsst ich doch den Weg zur. Groth)
  • (6) Lieder, No. 1, Therese (wds. Keller)
  • (5) Lieder, No. 3, Sonntag (wds. Uhland)
  • (5) Lieder, No. 4, Wiegenlied (wds. Scherer)
  • (7) Lieder, No. 1, Der Gang zum Liebchen (wds. Anon)
  • (5) Lieder, No. 1, Wie Melodien zieht es mir (wds. Groth)
  • (5) Lieder und Romanzen, Vergebliches Ständchen (wds. trad)
  • (El) Noi de la mare
  • Josep i Maria
  • (El) Rossinyol
  • (El) Mariner
  • (15) Tonadillas al estilo antiguo, La maja dolorosa
  • (15) Tonadillas al estilo antiguo, El majo discreto
  • (15) Tonadillas al estilo antiguo, El mirar de la Maja
  • (15) Tonadillas al estilo antiguo, El tra la la y el punteado
  • (El) Vito
  • (El) Molondrón
  • Aquel Sombrero de monte
  • Pámpano Verde
  • Clavelitos
  • Blow the wind southerly
  • Carmen, ~, Près des remparts de Séville (Seguédille)

It would be only truthful to say that I approached this recital with some trepidation. Would it be difficult to gloss over the possible failings of a much-loved artist now in the twilight of her career? I need hardly have worried. Certainly the arie antiche and some of the Brahms show the soprano nervous at the start of the evening, but already there are enough moments of los Angeles's old art to make one overlook the shortness of breadth and occasional flatness. The old sense of joyfulness is present in Brahms's Sonntag and Vergebliches Standchen. With the four Catalan songs, the former magic returns and potently exerts itself. These unsophisticated, moving little pieces are given the benefit of those peculiar individual accents and diction which make the readings recognizable as the work of the great artist we have admired for so long.
The succeeding songs confirm the impression. The three sad majos as ever find the singer a complete interpreter, the feeling of ache in her voice unerringly caught and their sorrow encompassed, even if we are conscious that above the stave the tone now comes under uncomfortable stress. Still better is the Obradors group, El molondron and Aquel sombrero de monte delivered with undiminished brio and character. For Torre's atmospheric song, los Angeles finds the right equivocal tone and nuance, and the humming at the end is quite mesmeric. That old favourite Clavelitos!, the first of three encores, is as ever a winner, but better here is Blow the wind southerly, so quietly eloquent and done in excellent English, and the Carmen Seguedille, done with a wonderful management of reduced resources and an applause-winning elan.
Geoffrey Parsons is obviously fired to his best form by the spirit of his partner, but London's Wigmore Hall, always difficult for pianists, sometimes hardens his tone. As a whole this is a fine example of late-vintage los Angeles—and as such well worth preservation.'

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