4 young opera singers offer eclectic, interesting program at Phillips Collection

One of the more distinctive things about concerts at the Phillips Collection is the long, labyrinthine stroll you have to take through the galleries to get to the Music Room, which seems to heighten your awareness of the subtle interplay between music and the visual arts. That interplay was at the heart of a recital on Thursday night by four rising young singers from the Wolf Trap Opera Company who presented an intimate, eclectic and individual program of music chosen to accompany paintings from the museum’s collection.

The multimedia evening, titled “Vocal Colors,” ranged from show tunes to Sibelius and opened with an explosive account of “Fate” (from the musical “Kismet” by Robert Wright and George Forrest), sung by bass-baritone Craig Colclough, with the fine pianist Joseph Li accompanying. With Mark Rothko’s brooding painting “Green and Maroon” projected on a screen behind him, Colclough displayed an easy, down-to-earth confidence in his singing, and there’s an agreeable roughness to his voice that brought a fine edge to the song and turned Irving Fine’s hilarious “Tigeroo” into a tour de force.

Tenor James Kryshak displayed a lighter, softer voice to good effect in Dave Frishberg’s lighthearted “Peel Me a Grape” but shifted deftly into a darker tone for Franz Liszt’s searing “Pace non trovo,” while mezzo-soprano Margaret Gawrysiak contrasted Sam Coslow’s witty “You’ll Have to Swing It (Mr. Paganini)” with a passionate song from Sibelius, both sung with insight and imagination.

But the standout of the evening may have been the lyric soprano Corinne Winters. Almost motionless, staring at some far-off spot in the vicinity of Neptune as she sang, Winters could seem icily elusive at times. No matter: Her voice is exceptionally fine, and her accounts of Claude Debussy’s “Apparition” and Eduard Toldra’s Catalan boating song, “Canco de grumet,” rang with thoughtful, radiant beauty. This is a singer to keep an eye on.

Brookes is a freelance writer.

 
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