PATRICIA ROZARIO, soprano, with Mark Troop, piano. Assembly Hall, July 12 at 7:30 p.m.
If students of the Second International Summer Vocal School were looking for a role model, they could hardly do better than soprano Patricia Rozario, who delighted a large audience on Tuesday night with a program of art songs in five languages and as many styles.Indeed, there is little to fault in this interesting singer, the winner of many European song contests, whose lovely sound, natural approach, and tonal freedom puts one in mind of the excellent, versatile Benita Valente.
The voice has a certain exotic, golden timbre that refers ever so faintly to her native India; but it is generously rounded out, firmly focused, evenly produced from top to bottom, and capable of floating effortlessly over the top. And the total connection of voice to breath served her ideally in some fine legato singing in all ranges.
Such legato resting firmly on the breath was evident in her opening song, Handel's "Care Selve," whose Italian vowels dropped out as well molded and contiguous as beads on a string.
By contrast, the florid "Endless Pleasure" from Semele pealed forth in a cascade of accurate rhythms and figures, arching over the top with space to spare. However, English diction was not really very intelligible.
A group of unhackneyed lieder by Schubert benefited from tasteful selection, alternating moods and rhythms for maximum effect. Especially well presented was "Schwestergruss," one of those building, layer-on-layer sort of songs that creates a dark, dramatic mood.
"Lachen und Weinen" was the playful, delicate foil leading up to "Nacht und Traume," whose lustrous, gently modulating melody and undulating dynamics suggested where the sensuous Richard Strauss found his roots. Less impressive was "Die Forelle," never quite graceful enough to conceal the labor of maintaining its rhythmic joints.
Franz Liszt wrote some of the most exquisite songs, and never expressed himself more radiantly than in French. In the slow, darkling "O quand je dors" Rozario combined voluptuousness and subtlety in a shimmering moonlit interpretation that floated to an ethereal high ending. Turning to the German Liszt, the soprano was at her best in the lyric serenade, "Kling liese mein Lied."
Rodrigo's is not the name that springs first to mind when suggesting Spanish masters of song, but Rozario's finished and fiery interpretations of this composer proved interesting, highlighting some piquant little individualities and compelling rhythms.
Especially charming were "De donde venis, amore?" a will-'o-the-wisp snatch of song, and "De los alamos vengo, madre," among Rodrigo's best known songs - a playful, girlish deception of the mother set to a lively, basic rhythm.
The soprano concluded her program with the aria "Depuis le jour," from Charpentier's Louise, a song that always shows a lyric soprano with a fine top and expert, well-supported phrasing to perfection.
She encored with a lullaby from her native India. At the piano, Mark Troop offered generally effective and supportive accompaniments.
Vocal month in Salt Lake City continues with showcase recitals every night this week. Featured are prize-winning young vocalists, many of whom are making promising starts on international careers, who have been attracted by the Temple Square concert series' growing prestige.
Performing for the remainder of this week will be soprano Diedre Elliott Wednesday; baritone Paul Whelan Thursday; soprano Martina Bovet Friday; and Lucio Gallo, baritone, on Saturday. All programs start at 7:30, and all are free.