La Scena Musicale

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Review: Mauro Peter - Schubert: Goethe Lieder

Schubert: Goethe Lieder
Schubert: Goethe Lieder
Mauro Peter, tenor
Helmut Deutsch, piano
Sony 88875083882 (53 min 20 s)

5/6 stars

Swiss tenor Mauro Peter is a rising star in the world of opera and song. He studied in Munich with Fenna Kügel-Seifried, and was a member of the Young Singers Program in Salzburg in 2012, taking classes from Thomas Hampson and Michael Schade. That same year, he won first prize at the Peter Schumann Competition, and is currently in the Ensemble of Opernhaus Zürich. Sony saw the potential and signed him to a contract – a rarity these days. This new disc follows his excellent first solo disc, Die schöne Müllerin on the Wigmore Hall label, recorded live in January 2014. This Goethe Lieder reaffirms the earlier impression that Peter is a very fine singer, with a beautiful instrument that’s at once lyrical and aristocratic, used with abundant musicality, and ideal in Lieder. From the first song, Ganymed, one is immediately drawn into his program. Most of these Goethe songs call for a youthful ardour and ecstatic impulse, which he is fully up to the task. Some of these songs are really chestnuts, like Heidenröslein, but his singing is fresh and engaging. If I were to nitpick, occasionally there’s a bit of unsteadiness especially in the slow songs, and a forte high note here and there can sound effortful. In the acid test that is Erlkönig, his vocal resources are noticeably stretched, and there isn’t enough differentiation of the four voices – the child, the father, the Erlkönig, and the narrator. But what he does have is sufficiently winning, and the interpretive excellence will likely come with maturity. Helmut Deutsch is certainly one of the very best in the business, offering the singer impeccable support. This is an important disc for Lieder fans, and for those interested in getting acquainted with a new voice. 

—Joseph So

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