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Subject: Re: Florian Boesch at the Frick (Sunday at 5)
From: FRANCIS IMMLER <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:FRANCIS IMMLER <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 10 Feb 2010 04:07:42 -0500
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Sorry, but I heard none of the problems mentioned in this dismissal of
Florian Boesch.

What I heard was indeed "a beautiful voice," one that was large but in the
Frick space beautifully used.
It is a very dark baritone: consistently powerful, sometimes even
thrilling when he went low. It seemed
evenly produced throughout, even when he went high and very soft, seamlessly
to my untrained ears.

The Frick room is of course a much more intimate space than Zankel Hall (or
the Perelman in
Philadelphia) where we usually hear vocal recitals. I am not a singer or
a musician, but I am a very
experienced audience member, and I think I would have heard at least
intimations of the technique
issues mentioned.

I heard no breath issues. His diction was utterly clear -- my partner (who
has no German) had no trouble
following along in the program, unlike with other singers we hear. His stage
presence was completely natural.
He attempted to comunicate directly with the audience throughout, his eyes
moving around all areas of the room,
seeming to want individual engagement. It was good to see a singer an
accompanist having a good time.

I enjoyed the recital very much, and will happily return to hear Herr
Boesch again (I hope soon). But I would
agree that "larger than life" did not really apply to this recital.  Indeed,
it shouldn't have - lied doesn't usually
go there - though certainly Schumann's "Belsazar" which closed the first
half, and Schubert's "Der Atlas"
which closed the second, probably do.

To me, Boesch seems a first-rate singer, but I admit I heard little
particularly distinctive about the voice. What I missed
was color - none of that uncanny shimmer that Matthias Goerne can produce
whenever he wants to, and that was
once the preserve of Wolfgang Holzmair (an entirely different, higher voice,
of course) and Jose Van Dam.
I love voices that can do this, but hey these are few in any age, not just
now.

I'm not going to damn Herr Boesch with comparisons to Fischer-Dieskau.
Instead, I will say that he did quite naturally
and with no forcing the heavier, darker, songs that F-D's voice really
just never took well to.  (Sure, in his early days
they were beautifully sung, but they didn't sit well in his early tenorish
voice. Later, when he had deliberately darkened
his vocal range, they sometimes came out as - well, I don't want to be
unkind to this god of singing - but give me a
better word than "barks" or "rants". This is all based on recordings, mind
you, of which I have dozens. But alas I saw
F-D live only once, late.)  Boesch SANG the big songs, powerfully and
compellingly.

I hope no one was put off from going to this recital by Mr Smith's post. You
might have heard something quite
different from what he describes of his earlier encounters. Young singers DO
grow, after all, at least if they
are any good, and he sure is. The likes of Roger Vignoles wouldn't be
touring with him otherwise.

In any case, the Frick auditorium seemed to be sold out. But the other
reason to have gone is that for your $30 ticket
you would also have gotten free entrance to the Collection, starting at 4
PM.  (Just a note for future events.)
Best,
Frank Immler/Princeton
=================================
On Sun, Feb 7, 2010 at 12:57 PM, Luke Smith <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> "Larger than life" is a bit of an overstatement.  You're not missing much
> by not
> going to Boesch's concert.  Despite the fact that this is Opera-L, I think
> it's fair
> to talk a little lied---Boesch's primary career focus.  Having heard him
> two times
> in concert, I must say that there is nothing particularly interesting about
> him, and
> indeed, that he follows in a long line of contemporary singers who have no
> clue
> how to sing art song.  I can name few artists today who have the artistry,
> the
> line, the sensitivity of the great lied artists of the past.  Boesch is no
> exception.
> He has an inconsistent vibrato, breath issues, no control over softer
> dynamics (so
> he resorts to straight tone), even diction problems (in his native
> German!).
> There's no doubt that he has a beautiful voice, but the technique is sorely
> lacking.  Here's an example, In der Ferne:
>
> http://www.zshare.net/audio/722682141be8edca/
>
> Of course, these faulty technical issues are even more on display when
> singing
> opera.  Here he is singing "Donne mie la fate a tanti," from Salzburg.  He
> is
> stretched to his limits. That Boesch doesn't recognize his limitations is a
> shame.
>
> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8aYL6ZosrUc#t=4m28
>
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