Laquita Mitchell and Myra Huang, 11/7/20
Richard and I heard soprano Laquita Mitchell and pianist Myra Huang in recital on 11/7/20, co-presented by Open Space Music and Lakeview Concerts. I had heard Huang in recital with Nicholas Phan in an Open Space recital in August and had heard Mitchell and Huang perform in the Jessye Norman tribute concert in September. I was impressed with both of them so I was excited for this.
They opened with a Mozart concert aria, “Ch’io mi scordi di te?” The aria starts with a recitative and I felt like Mitchell could have injected a little more drama into it, it felt like filler before the pretty part started. But the pretty part was very pretty indeed! Mozart takes a particular kind of poise - - it highlights your strengths and magnifies your flaws. She sounded great. I’d love to hear her as the Countess in *Nozze* or Donna Elvira in *Don Giovanni.* Huang was a sensitive partner and played like a dream in the purely pianistic passages.
Next up was a couple of French songs, “L’Enamourée” by Reynaldo Hahn and “Chanson triste” by Henri Duparc. They performed them with all of the perfumed glamour that one wants in this rep. Speaking of French glamour, here's Mitchell singing the Jewel Song from *Faust:*
They did a set of three songs by Richard Strauss, “All mein Gedanken,” “Allerseelen,” and “Cäcilie.” This was, for the, the high point of the performance. The first song was charming, it had the refinement of a seasoned Lieder performance. “Allerseelen” translates as All Soul’s Day, and Mitchell dedicated it to her friends and family members who had died of COVID. “Cäcilie” is a real barn-burner, they both set the joint on fire.
They did three songs by Margaret Bonds on poems by Langston Hughes. I was more impressed with the piano parts in these songs than I was by the text setting or vocal writing, though Mitchell sang them beautifully.
The final set started with two songs by Florence Price, “Songs to the Dark Virgin” and “My Soul’s Been Anchored in the Lord.” The first song had a serious Straussian amplitude and Mitchell sang it to the hilt. And the concert ended with “Ride On, King Jesus,” which launched us into the stratosphere.