Sunday, April 9, 2017

A BREATH OF FRESH AIR



Art Song Canberra
Sally Wilson, mezzo-soprano, Mark Kruger, piano
Wesley Music Centre, Forrest Sunday 2 April

Reviewed by Len Power

A program of songs by Kurt Weill, Alban Berg, Arnold Schoenberg and Richard Strauss and others does not immediately conjure up a feeling of a breath of fresh air, but mezzo-soprano, Sally Wilson, and piano accompanist, Mark Kruger gave us exactly that.

Commencing with three songs by Kurt Weill, Sally Wilson immediately demonstrated her ability as a cabaret singer, both in voice and in performance.  A very expressive performer, she created believable characters and sang confidently and with great technical skill.

Sally Wilson has performed in opera, concert, chamber music, classical cabaret and recital around the world and in Australia for the past twenty years.  Her performance in “The Coronation Of Poppea” with the Victorian Opera gained her a Green Room Award nomination.  Born in Ipswich, Mark Kruger is a laureate of the Orleans International Piano Competition and his performances have been acclaimed around the world.

The second set of songs was by Gabriel Fauré.  Sally Wilson is particularly effective with songs that describe inner feelings and the dream-like songs were hauntingly sung.  These were followed by several early songs by Alban Berg with the theme of nature.  “Night”, “Crown Of Dreams” and “Summer Days” were the highlights of this set and the piano accompaniment by Mark Kruger was particularly fine.

Sally Wilson and Mark Kruger

 The remainder of the program continued to surprise and delight with its variety from Gershwin to Satie, more Weill, Richard Strauss, Schoenberg and even Michel Legrand.

Every song was a fine showcase for Sally Wilson’s beautiful voice.  There’s a lot of power there when the song demands it but she is also able to sing with great delicacy and feeling.

Art Song Canberra always presents performers of a high calibre but, with the performances of Sally Wilson and Mark Kruger, this concert can only be described as extraordinary.

This review was first published in the Canberra City News digital edition on Monday 3 April.

Len Power’s reviews are also broadcast on Artsound FM 92.7 ‘Artcetera’ program (9am Saturdays) and ‘Dress Circle’ (3.30pm Mondays).

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