The rich vocal timbre and intelligent musicianship that were so evident when Pamela Coburn won the Metropolitan Opera Regional Auditions here last year were even more impressive in her recital at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater last night.
Beginning with Schubert's "Der Hirt auf dem Felsen" and continuing through songs by Wolf and Rachmaninoff and opera arias by Puccini and Bizet, Coburn displayed an even quality, secure intonation and flawless control--all while dealing masterfully with the constantly changing demands of the music.
For the opening Schubert work, Coburn and pianist Charles Woodward were joined and ably supported by the controlled sensitivity of clarinetist Merlin Petroff. Perhaps the highlight of the evening, at least in demonstrating Coburn's maturity, was a group of seven songs by Hugo Wolf. The vocal and musical demands of this repertoire require a special caliber of artist; Coburn definitely qualifies.
As a contrast, Coburn followed Wolf with Puccini, Mimi's famous Act I aria from "La Bohe me." It was a model of phrasing and characterization, to say the least.
Besides four lyrical Rachmaninoff songs and Micaela's Act III aria from "Carmen," Coburn's program included a set of popular songs, a rather curious choice given the quantity of American art songs that would be a far more appropriate vehicle for a soprano of her considerable gifts.