<< -- 4 -- Robert Hugill SPARKLING PERFORMANCES
Part two opened with Purcell's I attempt from Love's sickness to fly and Ernest Chausson's Le temps de lilas. Again an imaginative pairing which shows two sides of the same emotional coin. This atmosphere was reinforced by a strong performance of 'I hate men' from Cole Porter's Kiss me Kate.
Kenny then performed another Handel piece, 'O Sleep' from Semele. Kenny is perhaps getting past the period in her career when she would interpret Semele on stage but it is still a pleasure to hear her in this repertoire. Her sense of line and her feel for Handelian fioriture are still lovely and amply compensate for the hints of wear at the top of the voice. Under pressure, Kenny's upper register showed small signs of wear, but in the quieter, sustained numbers she still maintained a purity of tone. It helps that her voice is wonderfully even in all registers so that the lighter numbers, often sung in a lower tessitura, never sounded forced or strained.
The final trio of songs were all small masterpieces of their genre. Erik Satie's La Diva de L'empire received a sparklingly idiomatic performance. Gershwin's Lorelei again invoked memories of Joan Morris. Kenny's performance succeeded well, but she did not quite eclipse Morris when it came to the words 'I want to bite my initials in a sailor's neck'. Then finally, Noel Coward's I'll follow my secret heart.
But of course, that was not all. Kenny and Burnside gave us two encores. First of all, a wickedly funny Masochism Tango by Tom Lehrer. Then a simply beautiful account of Si mes vers avaient des ailes by Reynaldo Hahn sent us humming away into the spring evening.
On the showing of this recital, Yvonne Kenny has many years to go before she needs to resort to giving recitals that are pure cabaret programmes; but if she ever does, I will look forward to them. For those Londoners who missed this recital, look out for Yvonne Kenny singing the title role in Fedora at Opera Holland Park. For those lucky people in Australia, look out for Yvonne Kenny and Iain Burnside's Australian tour of this programme in Summer 2006.
Copyright © 8 May 2006
Robert Hugill, London UK
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