Norman Lebrecht on shifting sound worlds
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The unexpected stand-out in this cast was for me the American mezzo Jane Henschel, in the very small role of Jack Twist’s mother.
She appears towards the end of the opera, her role brief, but she made quite an impression.
Her voice was rich and warm and she gave the Wuorinen score a much-need lyricism. She sang the American colloquial libretto with ease and comprehension, unlike many in the international cast. She’s diminutive – the other singers towered above her – but her lush voice filled every corner of the Teatro Real.
Jane Henschel, more than anyone in the production, brought Wuorinen’s music to life. It’s not mainstream opera music and she understood it, she made sense of it. (Although the Canadian baritone Daniel Okulitch was also outstanding.) Maybe it’s because she’s about the same age as the composer, and also American. Who knows.
She impressed me so much that I had to look her up. This is what I found:
Author, novelist, broadcaster, cultural commentator.
Follow him on FB: Facebook and on Twitter @NLebrecht
More Lebrecht @ normanlebrecht.com
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