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HomeOperasoprano Masabane Cecilia Rangwanasha & pianist Simon Lepper at Wigmore Corridor

soprano Masabane Cecilia Rangwanasha & pianist Simon Lepper at Wigmore Corridor


Masabane Cecilia Rangwanasha at Wigmore Hall (image from live stream)
Masabane Cecilia Rangwanasha at Wigmore Corridor (picture from reside stream)

Mahler, Liszt, Wagner, Barber, Le Roux Marais, conventional; Masabane Cecilia Rangwanasha, Simon Lepper; Wigmore Corridor
Reviewed 19 October 2022 (★★★★)

Extremely communicative with a splendidly burnished, luxurious voice and an actual pleasure in story telling, the South African soprano moved simply from nineteenth century German repertoire, to twentieth century American, to South African and extra conventional songs

South African soprano Masabane Cecilia Rangwanasha has made one thing of a speciality lately of Barber’s Knoxville: Summer time of 2015 and this work shaped the centre piece of her recital at Wigmore Corridor (her first full recital on the corridor, I imagine) on Wednesday 19 October 2022 with pianist Simon Lepper. Rangwanasha and Lepper started with songs from Mahler’s Das Knaben Wunderhorn, adopted by Liszt’s Lorelei (with its pre-echoes of Tristan und Isolde), resulting in a sequence of Wagner together with three Wesendonck Lieder. Within the second half the Barber was adopted by two South African songs and a choice of spirituals.

Rangwanasha received the Music Prize at Cardiff Singer of the World in 2021, and while her voice is clearly operatic in scope, she is very completed and communicative on the recital stage. Singing the whole lot from reminiscence, this was in some ways a night of story-telling, and while Rangwanasha’s great burnished, sensible and luxuriant voice was centre stage, her expressive face and eyes instructed loads too. That stated, the concluding sequence of the night, when she sang South African composer Stephanus Le Roux Marais’s music Mali die slaaf se lied, the normal South African music Thula Baba and a gaggle of spirituals, had a outstanding sense of power and freedom, one thing that continued to construct within the encores, an additional non secular and the ‘Click on music’ on this latter she was spontaneously joined in duet by a gentleman within the viewers! The outcome had a vibrancy, power and sheer sense of enjoyment; you wished that she might discover a method of bringing a few of this freedom into her Western classical repertoire.

We started with Mahler’s Das Knaben Wunderhorn, ‘Rheinlegendchen’ was stuffed with attraction and her enjoyment of telling a narrative, and all through the Mahler the darkish brilliance of her voice introduced out a richness within the music. ‘Wo die schönen Trompeten blasen’ had a outstanding sense of focus, of being centred, but she and Lepper made the emotional temperature rise and the entire was moderately mesmerising. ‘Wer hat dies Liedlein erdacht? was stuffed with attraction and delight, exhibiting of her participating character and talent to spin Mahler’s outstanding passagework.

Liszt’s 1841 music, Die Loreley is outstanding for its pre-echoes of Wagner’s Tristan, but the vocal narration can generally lapse into conventionality too, however Rangwanasha and Lepper introduced a gradual construct to the piece, growing to a terrific climax and giving us a gripping narrative. It was actually a good suggestion to hyperlink Liszt’ Wagner-evoking music with Wagner’s personal songs by way of one in every of Liszt’s Wagner transcriptions. I’m not fully sure that ‘Elsa’s Traum’ from Liszt’s Aus Lohengrin was fairly the precise one. Nonetheless, Simon Lepper introduced out the clear magic of Liszt’s piano writing and highlighted the poetry of the piece.

Rangwanasha sang three of Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder together with the 2 most linked to Tristan. ‘Der Engel’ calmly unfolded earlier than us, showcasing Rangwanasha’s vibrant musical line, and her care of the phrases. ‘Im Treibhaus’ with its evocations of the world of Tristan, was intimate and centred, with each Rangwanasha and Lepper creating environment from little or no. And eventually, ‘Traume’ was all stillness and concentrated with stunning tone.

For the second half we started within the twentieth century, with Barber’s Knoxville: Summer time of 1915. Rangwanasha started in a relaxed method, on a regular basis on the earth for element, but there was vibrant tone too. She was an actual story-teller right here, having fun with the descriptions, the gossip, permitting the voice to blossom at key moments. The extra dramatic moments had been strongly contrasted, notably by Lepper within the piano, while all through the piece Rangwanasha gave us that sense of rapture that underlies the entire piece. I’ve only one quibble; that is fairly a wordy, text-based piece and we moderately wanted the printed phrases as if Rangwanasha labored laborious at it, the textual content was considerably occluded.

After this we moved to Rangwanasha’s native South Africa. First a music by South African composer Stephanus le Roux Marais (1896-1979), a pioneer of Afrikaans artwork music. Mali die slaaf se lied (Mali the slave’s music) dates from 1932. Mild, lyrical and melancholy, it mixed the people and the classical, easy however efficient and Rangwanasha actually held our consideration right here. This was adopted by a standard South African music, ThulaBaba, right here in an association by Iain Farrington. We had been very a lot on the earth of folks music as artwork music, and superbly carried out it was too.

This temper continued with the spirituals, the place Rangwanasha and Lepper had been unashamedly artwork music of their strategy. We heard 4, every flowing into the opposite and none overstaying its welcome, No one Is aware of, Steal Away Fill by cup Lord, Stand up within the Chariot. Superbly sung, with Rangwanasha utilizing the repeats of verses so as to add improvisatory freedom to the vocal line.

The viewers response was rapturous, and we had been handled to 2 songs, one other non secular He is bought the entire world in his palms, and the Click on Music. This latter was rendered removed from hackneyed by Rangwanasha’s wonderful supply, the best way she interacted with the spontaneous contribution from a gentleman within the viewers who actually knew what he was doing. Pure delight.

The recital is accessible to stream on the Wigmore Corridor web site.

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