23 August 2012
Anyone interested in the spectacular progress of young New Zealand singers over recent years has had more than half an ear on the career of Madeleine Pierard.
Since winning the inaugural Lexus Song Quest in 2005 she has furthered her studies in London and won several competitions.
Now a Jetter Parker Young Artist with the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, she has moved from being a mezzo-soprano to soprano, yet retained the security and body from the lower register to complement the freedom and bloom her spectacular voice now has.
This recital might have looked a little quirky on paper, but it was richly satisfying in practice, and showed in dramatic fashion just why this singer is on fast track to international stardom.
To handle the deceptively simple demands of Canteloube's Songs of the Auvergne without sounding overly operatic, or even arch, was impressive enough, but to then move effortlessly to the world of Messiaen (Trois Melodies) and Alben Berg (Sieben fruhe Lieder) was breathtaking. And what superb songs both of these two brief cycles contain.
The same must be said of Ross Harris's Songs for Beatrice, songs that celebrate the brief life of astronomer Beatrice Tinsley. To words by Vincent O'Sullivan, Harris proves, again, that he is a most idiomatic composer for the voice, and Pierard and Terence Dennis did them full justice.
To finish the recital, Pierard entered the very different world of the bel canto period, showing a mastery of the quite different worlds of Bellini and Rossini.
Whether it was the delicately melodic world of Bellini or the more spectacular coloratura of Rossini, Pierard was at home. What a delight to hear a voice that has become wonderfully even throughout its range, to enjoy a high degree of musicianship and to revel in a pertnership with that master accompianist Terence Dennis.