Review: Senior Voice Recital

Meghan Farnsworth

Senior Conservatory voice major and soprano Cree Alyse Carrico presented a final recital that showcased her vocal power and brilliance as well as her easy, carefree stage dynamic. Pianist Jenna Douglas acted as a tasteful adornment to Carrico’s commanding and powerful presence. The program featured contemporary works by composers Benjamin Britten, Joaquin Rodrigo and Jake Heggie.

The first piece by Britten, “On This Island (Auden),” contained five movements in English. It was written shortly after his parents’ deaths and during a time spent among a group of artists studying the works of poet W.H. Auden. Auden’s complex words and obscure allusions define the lyrical basis for each piece.

Within each movement, the vocal line displays text painting, while in the accompaniment, the piano answers without excess but with enough force to be complementary and supportive. Carrico and Douglas beautifully created a well-balanced dialogue. Sometimes, when Douglas was conveying percussive, bell-like articulations, Carrico had to maintain more lyrical and legato phrasing — a decision that was satisfyingly artistic and musical. This was especially noticeable in “Seascape,” another piece from Britten’s song cycle. When Douglas replicated the sound of horns on faraway ships, Carrico serenaded a stranger traveling on a boat.

The program’s second piece — Cuatro Madrigales Amatorios— was a collection of love songs by Rodrigo. Composed during the 20th century, it contained four songs reminiscent of the late Baroque era. The works are lyrical and unique in flavor, providing a picture of Rodrigo’s childhood in Spain.

Demonstrating her unique versatility, Carrico transitioned beautifully between the upper and lower registers of her voice. On upper register notes, Carrico’s tone was brilliant and glistening. On lower register notes — typically a challenge for the soprano range — her voice remained powerful and owned a dark, mahogany-hued tone. With her voice alone, she was able to completely change character — a skill that will take her far. Shining as well on this piece, Douglas displayed her spectacular ability to remain musical while following the performer.

The pair definitely saved the best for last with Jake Heggie’s “At the Statue of Venus.” Composed for the opening of the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in 2005, the scene allowed the audience to question why the singer wore slacks to a blind date and who her blind date should or should not be.

With Douglas waiting on stage, Carrico entered the hall changing from a stunning red gown to black slacks and a white and black floral print blazer. The performance was absolutely wonderful. Not only did Carrico display her unique vocal versatility, but she also showed her acting capabilities. While singing librettist Terrence McNally’s humorous lyrics, the audience erupted into momentary bursts of laughter — adding an entertaining, stunning and vocally profound end to her recital.