Lise Davidsen/Leif Ove Andsnes review – star soprano beguiles and thrills


Focus / Culture 17 Views comments

Barbican, London
The Norwegian singer was paired with her compatriot for this magnificent and thoughtful recital of songs by Wagner, Strauss and Grieg

This lovely concert marked the start of Norwegian soprano Lise Davidsen’s Artist Spotlight series at the Barbican, which runs until the end of the season. Guildhall masterclasses, a programme of arias and duets with tenor Freddie de Tommaso (they share the same record label), and a concert with the Oslo Philharmonic can be heard in the spring. First, however, came this recital of songs by Grieg, Strauss and Wagner with her compatriot Leif Ove Andsnes, a starry pairing, and a really effective one on this showing.

Davidsen’s voice is notable for its amplitude, power and fullness of tone, remarkable for a singer still only in her early 30s, and already defining her as a major Wagnerian. What immediately impressed in this instance, however, was her wide dynamic range, subtly deployed and often beautifully controlled. When unleashed, as at the climax of Strauss’s Befreit, the sound is oceanic and thrilling. Most striking here, though, was the comparative restraint of much of her singing, and the intimate sense of light and shade that came with it.

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