Today Jane Eaglen taught her first master class in the small recital hall of
Benaroya Hall, about two-thirds full since it was announced only a few days
ago. She focused entirely on technique in clear explanations that were
down-to-earth with a lot of humor, and was consistently supportive of the
singers. That she succeeded was clear by the singer's repetition of the
passage: she got them to acquire a technique that improved performance.
By the way, those who say she has difficulty moving on stage in performance
because of her size should have seen her: she was not only highly gestural
not only with arm and head movements but almost lithe in body movement. If
she is relatively static on stage, she is choosing to do so because that
lady can really move easily when she wants to.
The three participants were tenors Stuart Lutzenhiser and Gino Lucchetti and
Kathryn Weld, mezzo-soprano. Speaking of size (forgive this) Weld is
probably the thinnest female opera singer I've ever seen live or in photo,
but she produced a big and well-rounded sound so whatever the bodily
structure she has plenty of resonating space. A lyric mezzo (seemed to me
better on top than at the bottom, she sings very stylishly, with a lot of
panache and intelligence. Her type of mezzo is clear by her selections:
Wie Du warst and the Cosi aria, Smanie implacabili. Lutzenhiser, who chose
Che gelida manina and Dies Bildniss, has a pleasant lyric tenor but seemed
a bit stiff to me even after he warmed up, nice but not exciting.
When Lucchetti began-he was the last performer-I thought, my God, what have
we here? a really truly Italian tenor complete with squillo, plaintive
and plangent, singing from the heart to the heart. What is most
remarkable about the voice is his affective power-he sings so intensely and
expressively. There were tears to my eyes, which doesn't happen a whole
lot. Jane complimented him on this wonderful natural top, "what they call
squillo'' she said after he had finished "Parmi veder le lagrime," and when
he had sung "Salut! Demeure chaste et pure" for the last time, she said that
his high notes were so natural and so gorgeous nobody should mess with them
at all. His is the kind of voice that convinces you God knew what he was
doing when he created tenors.
Lucchetti doesn't seem to have sung much outside of the northwest, and in
fact has less professional experience than the other two. He will surely
not remain a local asset much longer. He's made a recording of Italian
songs and arias called "La Serenata" (no further info in the program notes),
and he also appears in a Sierra On-line video game, a fitting sideline for a
singer in Microsoftieland.