At 6ft lin and with ‘very big hair’, mezzo soprano Michelle DeYoung makes quite an impression on stage even before she starts to sing. She talks to Alan Morrison.
There‘s an awesome array of world- class names appearing at the 50th Edinburgh International Festival. but who's to say that the lasting memories might not be of the lesser known talents appearing here for the first time'.’ Twenty-seven-year-old mezzo soprano Michelle DeYoung has been creating a buzz about herself back home in America with a series of solo recitals — at a concert in San Francisco in June. esteemed critic Allan Ulrich said she ‘sang with the grandeur. personality and insight of which exceptional careers are made'.
Praise indeed for the yotrng singer who grew tip a minister’s daughter in Colorado and California before winning a place on the h’letropolitan ()pera‘s Young Artist programme. After three years with the company in New York. she has begun to feature in what she calls ‘8‘ roles. and the wider calls for auditions are now beginning to llow. In between her opera
appointments however. she has worked hard with pianist Kevin Murphy in the far more exposed solo spotlight.
‘For many people. the recitals conre because of their opera career. which has made them well known.‘ she says. ‘Bul with the type of voice I have. I think I'll be doing more opera in five years or so than now. I have a very dramatic voice. btrt it's hard to place rue right now. so l'm fortunate that I've got so many recitals.‘
She also describes her voice as ‘very Germanic‘ and reckons it doesn't have the brighter qualities needed for the Italian repertoire. That said. she hasn't opted for obvious choices for her Edinburgh concert. Haydn is certainly
in there. as are some lieder by Richard Strauss. but there are also pieces by Debussy. Grieg and even some cabaret songs by Schoenberg.
There are so many different ways to approach a recital programme.‘ she says. ‘Starting out in my career. I think it's important to show a diversity of music. If somebody is an established singer and they're known for something. like Wagner roles. they can corue out and do an all-German recital because it's expected and welcome. I like to do a bunch of different things and make an interesting programme.‘ I Michelle DeYoung (Festival) Queen‘s Hall. 225 5756. l‘) Atrg. l lam. £4—£|6.
Michelle lieYoung: rising star
There’s always been a healthy market ior virtuosity, but today’s obsession with hype-tuelled superlatives seems to breed the go-taster tlash merchant whose musicianship has more to do with sprint competition than artistic expression. Twenty-iive-year-old Muscovite Evgeny Kissin has had so much acclaim heaped on him you could be lorgiven tor taking it with a minetul oi salt, but in this instance the praise is actually iustitied. lie may look like he’s got birds nesting in his hair, but, make no mistake, he’s also one at the century’s very great pianists, latest in a distinguished Russian line - including Sviatoslav Richter and Mikhail Pletnev - to
Klssin: more hands than most
marry untiappable technique with a striking retinement oi interpretative taste.
There’s the rub, indeed. i caught Kissin in london and witnessed the kind oi standing ovation reserved only tor deities and Jessye Norman. in the lace of such a response, it would be easy tor the still-maturing young Russian to play to the gallery, but neither his choice of programming (at the Usher llall he’ll be giving us the Bach/Busoni Choconne, Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, the Schumann Fantasia in c and Toccata in 0) nor the firmness ot articulation he brings to his playing shows any sign at limiting him to a mere diet ot tireball showpieces. Don’t be surprised though, it you tind yourselt convinced he’s got tour hands. (Trevor Johnston)
Evgeny Kissin (Festival) Usher Hall, as 5756, 16 Aug, 8pm. £5-£17.50.
I Orieo ed Euridice Mark Morris. master of nifty choreography. and conductor Christopher Hogwood have learned up to revitalise Gluck's take on the myth. Counter tenor Michael Chance takes on the role of ()rfeo in this challenging opera/dance crossover. See feature.
()tf/eo erl liar/(lice (Festival) Mark Morris Dance Group/Handel And Hayrln Society (‘horus Atul Orchestra. Boston. [Edinburgh Festival Theatre. 225 5756. / 6. l7. I9. 20 Aug. 7./5pm. [5—545. I lladdish Towering In ferno surf the rntrsicai genres and mix up the results with thought provoking images culled from their travels in Eastern Europe. What does it all mean'.’ Decide for yourself. Kat/dish (Fringe) loitering lit/erno. Assembly Rooms. (Venue 3) 226 2428. until 29 Aug (not /9). 9.30pm. [WI/2 (IR/Um.
I New York Philharmonic Orchestra Kurt Masur directs NY's finest in a programme of Strauss. Rorem and Beethoven followed by an evening of Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky.
New York I’ltil/utrntonic ()rc/Iestra (Festival) Usher Hall. 225 5756. /7. /8 Aug. (LS—£27.50.
I War Requiem The Royal Scottish National Orchestra. under the watchful baton of Donald Runnicles. perform Britten's intensely moving War Requiem. War Requiem (Festival) RSNO. Usher Hall. 225 5 756. /9 Aug. 8pm. [5—[2 7.50.
I tam White The man with the dorrrest coupon in the blues. even by the blues hiin standards. pitches tip to unleash his gravel- worn voice on his legion of fans. A rousing rendition of ‘If You're Happy And You Know ll' is unlikely.
72m, White (Fringe) Absolute Blues. Ceilidh House Atul Tron Jar: Cellar ( Venue 9) 220 /550. /8—25 Aug (Hill 20). I 0.30pm (3pm. 24 Aug). [6 (£5).
THE LIST’S TIPS FOR THE FESTIVAL MUSIC
Tire List l6-22 Aug l9‘)6 79