I’m happy to see that Yvonne Kenny features on not one, but two of Sieglinde’s top ten studio recordings of Mozart’s operas. As Cinna in the Teldec Lucio Silla which inexplicably (and shamefully) I don’t yet own; and (very young) as Barbarina in the Decca/London Le nozze di Figaro, the first studio recording I ever listened to of any opera by anyone, my introduction to Figaro and in many senses to opera in general. Not my introduction to Yvonne, strangely enough, but I got there in the end.
Meanwhile in London, Dr. B. went CD shopping and, under my influence, picked up Yvonne’s Make Believe: Classics Songs of Broadway. Her comments:
This is all songs from the Golden Age of Broadway. I’m from the golden age, too, so it’s just the recording for me. Her vibrato is a tad too operatic, but her English is perfect, and emotionally she completely gets this style. I could picture this woman singing these songs, the greatest possible compliment as far as I am concerned. What is this style: American elegance, too good for Sarah Brightman, but simple at the same time. I could listen to this.
Good enough for me!
Also Concert FM, in The Works at 9am, will broadcast Handel’s oratorio Deborah – with Yvonne in the title role – next Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (one act per day). I find it more than a little difficult to play favourites but if I were to do so, her performance in Deborah would likely be among them. It’s a bizarre kind of oratorio, what with its advocacy of violence with tent pegs, but still well worth a listen if you happen to be up and about at that hour.
However, reviews for Opera Australia’s Falstaff are appallingly thin on the ground. All I’ve read so far is that she is "a delight in voice and acting" and "regal and still focused". It’s safe to say I knew those things already. Good thing I’ll be there soon to find out for myself – no doubt I’ll have rather more to say on the subject. Start steeling yourselves now. I won’t go as over the top as I did with La voix humaine; but then again I might.
If I hadn’t oh-so-cleverly ended up separated from the majority of my CD collection yesterday I could probably have managed not just an all-Mozart day but an all-Yvonne-all-Mozart day. I’ve recently returned to the Chandos Opera in English Figaro after neglecting it for far too long (it’s fine but it’s not great) and I adore her Countess more than ever. Vibrato-laden to be sure, maybe a touch too much metal up high, I don’t care. She has recorded the Requiem twice and I have them both; in the Chandos recording under George Guest she’s incredible, but I haven’t heard the Hickox recording recently enough to compare. (I hate to admit to having neglected any of her recordings but there are only so many hours in my diva-worshipping day.) In the exquisite Ponnelle film of Mitridate, re di Ponto she is an ideal Aspasia, vocally stunning and so terribly photogenic, surpassing even herself (in a production from Lyon, also filmed.) Her fragile Konstanze makes my head spin. And so on and so on.
And did I mention, Falstaff in six days? An eternity.