Anne Schwanewilms. Photo: Javier del Real

On a day when events in Las Vegas cast a shadow over much of the news this was not the most comfortable recital to sit through for many reasons. The chosen repertoire did, at times, feel unduly heavy – and very Germanic – but it was also unevenly sung.

Indeed, it was very much a recital of two distinct halves. Franz Schreker’s 5 Lieder, Op.3, which opened the evening, are songs about personal
loss and grief (“Ich sitze trauernd ein Grab zu hüten”) and, frankly, Ms
Schwanewilms gave a performance of them that was too tentative for my
taste. It all felt rather arid. There were moments, few and far between,
where Ms Schwanewilms felt able to colour her voice – at the end of the
second song, Im Lenz, for example, but mostly she didn’t feel
vulnerable enough. There are elements of innocence that ripple through the
underbelly of these texts, but I was left with the impression she was
simply uncomfortable in these songs, at least on this occasion. Das Glück was riddled with hazy phrasing, particularly at the end of stanzas. In Umsonst her diction was simply unclear. It was not the most promising beginning.

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Photo credit: Javier del Real
Source: Opera Today