The human voice doesn’t really mature until twenty-five or more, so when, like Maddie Perring, you’re only sweet sixteen and giving your first solo recital, it’s not going to be the finished product just yet.
In order to cover as wide a repertory as possible, Maddie was no doubt advised by her teachers to open with something substantial like Schumann’s Frauenliebe und -leben – a cycle of eight consecutive Lieder recounting the emotionally-challenging course of a woman’s love and loss. Maddie rose to the challenge with some aplomb and real empathy, but the work wasn’t, perhaps, the most inspiring choice to open a short lunchtime recital.
However, Handel’s Tornami a vagheggiar, a regular programme-pleaser, saw Maddie despatching the coloratura writing with élan, to which the audience immediately responded.
She then proved especially at home in Ivor Gurney’s Sleep, with a sensitive delivery that finely captured the nature of the text, and similarly in Fauré’s Les roses d’Isaphan.
Maddie studies at a Cathedral Music, rather than a Performing Arts School, where both have their respective strengths and weaknesses. Her two numbers from the world of musical comedy might have benefitted from a little more theatrical input, something, though, perhaps more germane to the latter establishment’s ethos than the former.
But with the bonus of Richard Line’s superb piano accompaniment, and Maddie’s warm and confident stage presence, this was still an enjoyable debut-recital that certainly augurs well for the future – with the right training and nurture.
PHILIP R BUTTALL
(The Madeleine Perring, soprano, with Richard Line, piano, lunchtime recital took place at the Minster Church of St Andrew, Plymouth on September 6, 2017.)
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