Monday, March 23, 2009

Polegato creates despair in Schubert's Winterreise

Schubert's 24song cycle Winterreise is a tour-de-force of dispair, regret and bitterness. Canadian baritone Brett Polegato and pianist Stephen Ralls captured the wanderer's journey with sensitivity this past Sunday as part of the Music at St. George's series at St. George's Cathedral in Kingston, ON.

Not very often does Kingston have the opportunity to host artists of this level - what a joy to be in the audience! Brett created some incredible moments - his ability to spin a line at any dynamic was truly a mark of an experienced singer. I enjoyed the pacing of the whole cycle - both Brett and Stephen knew when to keep the sound moving between songs and when to allow more space for the dram and clear the air. Stephen, as usual, was a sensitive partner and was able to create a clear and buoyant sound when called for as well as darker, intense moments particularly in Das Wirtshaus. His ethereal sound for Der Leiermann was gripping.

For those of you who are in Toronto, check out their performance at the Glenn Gould for the Aldeburgh Connection on Wednesday. This performance will be recorded for broadcast at a later date.

(art work by clementine chan)

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