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Kate Royal: "Midsummer Night" CD a showcase for passion

img  Tobias

Generally regarded as one of the most talented of current British vocalists, Kate Royal is proving consistently evocative in each of the CD selections on Midsummer Night. A native Londoner and former student at the Guildhall School of Music and the National Opera Studio, Royal won the prestigious Kathleen Ferrier Award and the John Christie Award in 2004 and the 2007 Royal Philharmonic Society Young Artist Award.  Her crystalline soprano rings true on American composer Bernard Hermann's "I Have Dreamt" (Wuthering Heights), paints emotion on pieces including Dvorak's "Song to the Moon" (from Rusalka), and conveys the innocence of a girl's memory of her mother in "Tiny's Song," the choral operetta Paul Bunyan by composer Benjamin Britten .

The Midsummer Night CD also includes a selection from English composer William Alwyn; his only major opera was Miss Julie, based on August Strindberg's drama portraying sexual and class relations in 1888. American composer Carlisle Floyd is also featured, with a selection called "The Trees on the Mountains." Floyd's opera "Susannah" was adapted from the Apocryphal tale of Susannah and the Elders; it focuses on a young woman named Susannah Polk, unfairly targeted as a sinner in a small rural town in the American South.

Bernard Herrmann, who collaborated for many years on film scores including Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock) and Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese), considered his opera Wuthering Heights a favorite - it was based on Emily Brontė’s novel and composed in the late 1940s, but was not performed until 1982. Carlisle Floyd's version of Wuthering Heights was first staged in 1958, and Susannah was the prolific composer's biggest success.

All the arias were written after 1900, according to Stephen Johns with EMI Classics. "The selection of songs for this recital is illuminated by the composers’ reactions to the changing musical scenes of the 20th century," he said. "Each composer has found a different and unique way of coping with the transition into the century." Johns notes that some, such as Dvorak and Korngold, remain rooted in 19th century lush harmonies, while others have experimented with newer harmonies. He notes "the aching beauty of Walton and Alwyn's music" when discussing the selections chosen for the Midsummer Night CD, but it's Kate Royal's finely honed soprano that explores and conveys the range of emotions intended by the composers.

The Midsummer Night collection, emphasizing the day's end and the night, seems perfectly suited to Kate Royal's soprano expression of beauty, longing, ecstasy, and grief. The CD confirms that Royal is a vocal artist with undeniable passion, and the selection and arrangement of the arias perfectly enhance her talent.

Homepage: Kate Royal
Homepage: Micropage for „Midsummer Night“
Homepage: EMI Classics

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