Readers of this site are typically up to speed on emerging vocal talents, so clearly there is no need for me to write a review of Chilean-German soprano Carolina Ullrich’s riveting recital at the Paris Opera? Oh wait—you haven’t heard of her?! Ullrich has been delighting opera audiences from Dresden to her native Santiago, but she has scarcely made it across the pond to North American stages, save for a concert at the Kennedy Center in 2010. Ullrich, who made a surprise debut at Opera Bastille last year, teamed up with stellar Brazilian pianist Marcelo Amaral—who studied with Helmut Deutsch, Jonas Kaufmann’s loyal lieder accompanist—to present a program of mostly unfamiliar works by Granados, Guridi, and Obradors, as well some Fauré (this is Paris after all).
The Fauré—a set called “La Chanson D’Ève”—made for a nice warm-up but the real fun began with Granados’ “La Maja y el ruiseñor.” The rest of the recital featured Spanish pieces that are evidently special to Ullrich, as she projected genuine enthusiasm and appeared delighted to introduce the audience to a new world of repertoire. At the same time, Ullrich strikes me as a highly disciplined performer who never resorts to frivolous antics. She’s a singer who draws you in—and goodness knows that is a rare capacity.
While a Spanish-themed recital would likely be well received in New York, the question is whether we will soon see this promising soprano onstage, perhaps even in a zarzuela?
I was also incredibly impressed with Amaral’s sensitive accompaniment. Here is a pianist who blends the flare of Latin America with the studiousness of Schubert’s Germany. Not to mention the fact that he appeared tireless. I so look forward to hearing him again.
This was my second time attending a concert as part of the Convergences series at Opera Bastille’s sterile yet acoustically pleasing Amphitheatre. These concerts feature distinguished artists and offer the perfect foil to the crowd-pleasing yet unambitious roster (Traviata! Tosca! Barber of Seville!) upstairs in the gigantic opera auditorium. I previously wrote about Christian Gerhaher’s Schubert awesomeness, and I look forward to seeing soprano Angela Denoke in November.