Powerful voice – maybe too powerful for the lieder tonight sometimes.
Her face worked very hard – she is an opera singer. However, her facial expressions are almost all the same for all the French melodies and German lieder in the program – Sometimes just totally unfit. If I wasn’t reading the lyrics along, I really couldn’t tell what the lyrics (or in fact, poems) were about from her facial expression.
In fact, it’s not just a problem of facial expression, her tone color lacks variety, to my opinion. It’s probably unfair but Andreas Scholl on Tuesday night was WAY better in terms of interpretation and techniques and such. It sounded like she rushed through all the songs.
Her best songs were probably the two encores in English (there’s another encore in Chinese: 好一朵美麗的茉莉花). Of course, the lyrics for those two songs are funny enough and the wide range also helped to show off her high notes. Her effort to sing an encore in Chinese was much appreciated but… really couldn’t tell what she was singing other than the first sentence – another proof of Chinese be ing too hard for Westerners?! She sang O Mio Babbino Caro but… too many people has sung it – too many really good sopranos have sung it really well before and Osborne’s interpretation couldn’t stand at all in front of these gems.
The recital was short: it wasn’t even 9pm yet when she’s finished her program. By the time she’s sung her encores and really ended the program, it was only 9:10pm. The concert started at 8pm.
One word about the accompanist: Have to admit that I am not that familiar with the piano part of the songs tonight but … I really didn’t feel the piano was helping much musically. There were some nice bits but then there were only some.
Conclusion: Simone Osborne is young at her early 20s and her voice matches her age… maybe too well.

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