Jay Nordlinger’s The New Criterion review of Marianne Crebassa’s recent La Scala recital is a love letter to the “mezzo-soprano in her glory.”
“What makes Crebassa good, even great? I will count the ways.
“Voice. A voice that is lush, warm, sensuous—I’m tempted to say ‘Mediterranean.’ Frequently, I described Frederica von Stade’s voice as ‘wet,’ even ‘dripping.’ Crebassa has that same quality, among others. Then there is the technique—a very secure technique, capable of whatever a composer wants to throw at her. Her intonation is spot-on. This is a great gift to a listener, whether he knows it or not. …
“In Debussy’s Chansons de Bilitis, she is emotional, passionate—and yet there is the right Gallic cool, or Debussyan cool. A hot-cool, if I may. And when she sings ‘L’île inconnue’—the last song in Berlioz’s cycle Les nuits d’été—you want to jump out of your seat, sailing off to parts unknown. Such is the ecstasy. —
About the Spanish songs, what would ‘Vickie D.’ (Victoria de los Angeles) or ‘Montsi’ (Montserrat Caballé) say? I think they would say, ‘Very Spanish, muy español.’
“Yes, it is an honor to give a recital at La Scala. But this is a recital that honors the house, too.”
Visit newcriterion.com to read the full review and La Scala’s YouTube channel to enjoy the full recital.