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Subject: Soprano SUSANNA PHILLIPS pours it on at DC recital debut
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Date:Sun, 29 Mar 2009 12:44:17 +0000

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Thursday evening the Vocal Arts Society presented the Washington debut of soprano SUSANNA PHILLIPS who has been making a name for herself from Santa Fe to Chicago and ultimately the Met. I think his is a voice we all should hear and only hope it will grow and shimmer more with time as it is an impressive one. She was joined deftly at the piano by CRAIG TERRY: 

   Auf Flügeln des Gesanges 
   Andres Maienlied 'Hexenlied' 

   Les roses d'Ispahan 
   Après un rêve 

   Rote Rosen 
   Das Rosenband 
   Als Mir Dein Lied Erklang 


   Knoxville, Summer of 1915 

   Poemes pour Mi (i-iv) 
       Action de graces 
       La maison 

2 Strauss encores: Morgen and ?? 

The new arrangement in the Terrace Theater without the recital "shell" behind seemed to prove better. Mr. Terry had the piano fully open and there was not the slightest problem hearing Ms. Phillips ever. It was a also a nice treat to have titles projected at the rear top so that we need not flip through the translations. 

Ms. Phillips dove right in and there was no "warm up" set. Her crisp soprano voice proved her to be a lieder-savvy singer knowing exactly how to relay each set to maximum effect. 

Before the Faure set she noted that the entire program was "just some of their favorite pieces" and not meant to have any meaning or connection or program theme. One audience member yelled back that it was his favorites too! In the Faure there was a loving caress of the keys by Mr. Terry and a dreamy (excuse the pun) feeling for "Apres un reve." The ending line for "Adieu" was sheer beauty, not being too soft and just long enough. 

In the Strauss "Das Rosenband" she let loose and filled the house with a ringing soprano. What a treat to see the Barber on the program, and performed with great feeling by two southerners. The term "talking casually" had indeed the most wonderful southern lilt to it. To boot, Ms. Phillips has a great stage presence and uses simple gestures with her hands, face and whole body to truly relay the story. 

The atonal breathiness of the Messaien is never to my taste and I must admit an odd choice to end a program; indeed, I felt like I needed a stiff drink after his and it is merely the music, not the performers. 

We came back to bliss with the encores and went home happy! 

ALAN SAVADA-Washington, DC 

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