San Francisco Conservatory of Music Concert Hall
Tuesday, October 20, 2009 at 8 p.m.
Eleazar Rodriguez, tenor
John Parr, piano
Ludwig van Beethoven
Heidi Melton, soprano
John Parr, piano
Nicht mehr zu dir zu gehen
An die Nachtigall
It was nice to get a substantial hearing of Merola tenor Eleazar Rodriguez, who seemed to have been short-changed on the Merola Grand Finale program. Mr. Eleazar has a beautiful & clean sound, particularly in the middle of his range. He worked hard to sell all the emotions in his songs, though he has such an appealing, good-natured stage presence that I sometimes found it hard to believe in his anguish or anger. He was most convincing in the lighter, sweeter parts of Dichterliebe, such as Wenn ich in deine Augen seh' or Am Leuchtenden Sommergorgen. I imagine him to be quite endearing in an actual opera.
Looking at the program, I realized that this is the 3rd time I've heard Dichterliebe in the past 2 years, & each time John Parr was at the piano. This must be a favorite work of his. At least I hope it is, for his sake!
In the 2nd half of this program, out-going Adler Fellow Heidi Melton was simply marvelous. She came on stage beaming, as if she couldn't be happier to be with us. In the Brahms & Wagner songs she unleashed a full range of emotions, delivered in her rich, large voice. I'm pretty sure that certain notes caused the piano strings to vibrate sympathetically. At times I felt like I was being raised out of my seat. The next step in Ms. Melton's career is taking her to the Deutsche Oper Berlin. I will miss hearing her here.
Before the performance we were encouraged to take a glass of rather sweet wine on the landing outside the hall. Later on someone suggested that this privilege was actually reserved for VIPs, but either this person was mistaken or we were mistaken for our betters.