Golden Voice--Soprano Paulette Gissendanner delivers memorable concerts.
Thursday, March 4, 1999
Need a soprano? Want a really good one? Contact Paulette Gissendanner. The CSU Monterey Bay choral and vocal director since 1997, Gissendanner gave her first local solo recital last Sunday and wowed the small audience at the on-campus music hall. The reaction was altogether justified. From Mozart''s Exsultate, Jubilate through songs by Strauss, Rachmaninoff and Faur, Gissendanner commanded her material with expressive authority and, more important, room-filling personality.
All due respect to the area talent we enjoy, but these ears haven''t heard any local vocal soloist with this degree of magnetism in years. Gissendanner is a seasoned performer with a splendidly mature instrument. Her range of expression, dynamic shading, phrasing, inflections and richness of tone immediately set her apart. To close one''s eyes was to hear more than a little of Leontyne Price in Gissendanner''s utterance and style of conveyance.
Despite this golden weight of tone, she opened her program with the glittering coloratura challenge of the popular Mozart motet. Both singer and accompanist, pianist Daniel Glover, were on edge at the outset. But by the second aria and ensuing Alleluia, each was settled in and Gissendanner fully engaged. The high notes were more stabbed than floated, but were quickly supported and bang on pitch.
Gissendanner''s selection of songs by Strauss, Rachmaninoff and Faur suggested a narrative relationship, an adroit device that added character to the singing and focus to the listening. Each sequence explored facets of love, starting with the eager anticipation of Strauss'' Stndchen and the morning-after thoughtfulness of his Morgen. The singer was playful in the first and quietly contemplative in the second. The two songs by Rachmaninoff, however, lay even more perfectly on the voice, his Harvest of Sorrow an absolute revelation.
Three songs by Faure described an arc, the middle Fleur jetee portrayed by Gissendanner with a dramatic power that held its own against an uncomfortably loud piano accompaniment. Any lingering doubts as to the singer''s remarkable range were put to rest with Bring him home from Les Miserables, Hall Johnson''s City Called Heaven and a particularly stirring Ride on King Jesus. The totally won-over audience demanded and got another winner, Gershwin''s Summertime.
The Salinas Concert Association''s presentation of Amy Knoles will be reviewed next week.
Last Week''s Quiz Name the Italian opera composer who remarked, "One can''t judge Wagner''s Lohengrin after a first hearing, and I certainly don''t intend hearing it a second time." Answer Gioacchino Rossini.
This Week''s Quiz What 19th-century composer described Chopin''s mazurkas as "cannons hidden beneath flowers"? cw
UCSC Women''s Chorale Friday, 8pm. Margaret Martin Kvamme conducts voices in works by Faure, Morrison, Poulenc with keyboard works by Daquin, Debussy played by Kayoko Hori Grech. Holy Cross Church, Mission Plaza, Santa Cruz. $8/general; $6/seniors; $4/students. 459-2159.
Ensemble Monterey Saturday, 8pm. Soprano Cheryl Anderson, harpsichordist Melinda Coffey featured in "Other Americas," a program of Silvestre Revueltas, Carlos Chavez, Alberto Ginastera, Carlos Surinach and Manuel de Falla. MPC Music Hall, 980 Fremont St., Monterey. $12, $15. 372-4523.
Pianist Pawel Skrzypek Saturday, 8pm. Polish artist performs an all-Chopin recital for Cabrillo Distinguished Artists series. Cabrillo College Theater, 6500 Soquel Dr., Aptos. $12/general; $8/seniors & students. 479-6331.
UCSC Wind Ensemble Saturday, 8pm. Robert Louis Stevenson School''s Rob Klevan conducts. Music Center Recital Hall, UC Santa Cruz. $8/general; $6/seniors; $4/students. 459-2159.
Camerata Singers Saturday, 8pm; Sunday, 3pm. Vahe Aslanian conducts Jewish folk music. Saturday: Temple Beth El, 1212 Riker St., Salinas. Sunday: Congregation Beth Israel, 5716 Carmel Valley Road, Carmel. $15/adults; $6/students. 484-1217.
New Music Works Sunday, 7pm. Sound Horizons Composition Competition winners Christopher Pratorius, Noah Kleiman, David Hernandez, Dennis Floyd, and William Sly. Kuumbwa Jazz Center, 320 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $12/general; $10/seniors; $5/students. 427-2225.
Pianist Heidi Hau Tuesday, 8pm. Winner, Carmel Music Society 1998 piano competition, plays works by JS Bach, Mozart, Chopin, Debussy, Schumann, Shchedrin. Sunset Center, San Carlos Street at 9th Avenue, Carmel. $45, $35, $15. 625-9938.