La Scena Musicale

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Soprano Desiree Till at Atelier Rosemarie Umetsu

Soprano Desiree Till Launches new CD "Couleurs" with Mini Recital

- Joseph So

Atelier Rosemarie Umetsu / Nov. 18th 2013  7:15 pm

J. Strauss - Mein Herr Marquis / Die Fledermaus
J-M Damase - Rions, chantons o mes amis / Epigrammes et Madrigaux
J-M Damase - Quand vous meditez un projet / Epigrammes et Madrigaux
Faure - Apres un reve 
Duparc - Chanson triste  

Desiree Trio
Desiree Till, soprano
Coenraad Bloemendal, cello
Erica Goodman, harp 

It's well known in the Toronto musical circles that Rosemarie Umetsu is not only a couturiere extraordinaire,  but also a passionate lover of classical music.  Her shop, Atelier Roesmarie Umetsu has played host to many a music event.  I recalled attending a wonderful CD launch by Canadian pianist Stewart Goodyear a couple of years ago.  On Monday evening, the Atelier hosted a CD launch of soprano Desiree Till. 
"Couleurs" CD Cover

Soprano Desiree Till 

Previous to this event, I had only heard Ms. Till once, as Zerbinetta in the Toronto Summer Music Festival's Ariadne auf Naxos in 2008.  She possesses a soubrette voice of modest size but well focused, flexible and very pretty. I recall her as a lovely Zerbinetta, very musical, with an excellent sense of pitch all the way up to the highest notes in the 11 minute-long and treacherous "Grossmachtige Princessin."  Well, there wasn't anything so formidable in her mini recital last evening, but it was enjoyable just the same. 

Soprano Desiree Till and cellist Coenraad Bloemendal 

She opened with Adele's Laughing Song, "Mein Herr Marquis."  She sang it with lively, buoyant tone, and she has among the best laughs of all the Adeles I've heard!  Wearing my critics hat, I find that occasionally a note would be pecked at and not fully projected (no, I don't mean the notes marked staccati), and the trills were rather sketchy. Her fortissimo high notes were spot on, however. But overall it was quite lovely. The next two pieces were by French composer Jean-Michel Damase, who passed away early this year. Till captured the joyous air of "Rions" beautifully, and it was a nice contrast to the second, more contemplative "Quand vous meditez..."  The last two pieces were very familiar songs -Faure's "Apres un reve" and Duparc's "Chanson triste," and the soprano did full justice to these two gems. 
The Duparc's Chanson triste, sung with soft, warm, ethereal tone, was particularly lovely.  Both cellist Coenraad Bloemendal and harpist Erica Goodman supplied wonderful support to the singer. Bloemendal's arrangement of the Duparc and Faure - gorgeous cello obligato in Apres un reve! - added just the right romantic atmosphere to the two pieces.

It was a nice end to the 15 minute mini-recital, and she was warmly applauded by the full house, an audience with many musical luminaries including former National Ballet of Canada ballerina Veronica Tennant. This concert was a launch of her new CD, Couleurs, which features some of these pieces in the recital. Next summer, Desiree Till will appear in the Muskoka Music Festival, where the soprano has previously appeared to audience acclaim.

Wayne and Rosemarie Umetsu with the Desiree Trio (Photo: Courtesy of Atelier Rosemarie Umetsu)

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