Music and Reviews from Clare, Limerick, Waterford and sometimes further afield

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Superb Song Duo : Flavin & Matthewman at City Hall Waterford

Máire Flavinand Gary Matthewman in the Georgian Large Room City Hall Waterford.

Winning Song Team deliver Love in Spring at City Hall

Schumann Widnung; Die Lotusblume; Du bist wie eine Blume; Fruhlinghshnacht
Wolf Er ist’s; Im Fruhling; An eine Aolsharfe; Zitronenefalter
Strauss Allerseelen; O Susser Mai; Fruhlingsgedrange; Morgen
Chausson; Le temps de Lilas; Les Papillons; Le Callibri
Reynaldo Hahn Le Rossignol des Lilas; Ah Chloris; Printemps
WV Wallace: Sweet Spirit, o hear my prayer, Say my heart can this be love; Orange Flowers
Encore Gershwin  Summertime

There was a great sense of occasion in City Hall as Máire Flavin made her debut in Waterford, the birthplace of her parents. The recital, part of the Waterford-Music series was dedicated to Elizabeth Downey, founder member of the chamber music society celebrating 73 years of activity. Taking her cue from the April date, the soprano built a programme around lieder and chanson dedicated to Love and Spring with a soupçon of American Summer for an encore.

Opening with  Widnung, Schumann’s passionate dedication to his bride Clara, Flavin from the off displayed the vocal fire power and stage artistry that propelled her to the finalist rostrum at the 2011 Cardiff Singer of the World and on to international opera stages. A rich and full bodied voice with her pleasant stage manner and range of dramatic expression made for an intense and  enthralling performance.  From ‘light touch' Schumann she moved to 'angsty Wolf’. In An eine Aolsharfe, the superb pianism of Gary Matthewman in creating an almost orchestral palette of sound was astonishing. A ravishing postlude to Morgen, a wedding present by Richard Strauss to his wife  closed the first half in a mood blissful rapture.
Birds , butterflys and flowers proliferated in the second half chansons by Chausson and Hahn. The most familiar of which was Ah Chloris with resonance in Bach’s air. In a nice touch,  the lilac theme was picked up in the platform display of purple blooms.. Finally by request we heard a set of charming Victorian ballads by local  favourite WV Wallace which suited the drawing room ambience of the splendid chamber. Beautifully dressed in fuschia gown with lace detail and formal tails, the pair looked as though they could have stepped off the set of Downton Abbey where indeed, Matthewman has done some service. 
 This was a thrilling performance from an exciting singer, all the greater for the superb artistry of  Matthewman whose vivid  piano colours and breath-taking timing  created the enchantment around  Flavin's  magical vocal encounters. A night to treasure  from a winning song team! I don’t expect to hear a finer collaboration any time soon.

Among the distinguished guests were members of the Downey family and Jim and Moira Flavin.

Related Posts

Interview Maire Flavin

Remembering Elizabeth Downey


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