Mezzo-soprano Victoria Livengood and baritone William Parker gave a rare all-Liszt recital last night at the Baird Auditorium. With the assistance of John Douglas on piano, each artist sang three sets from Franz Liszt's widely varied repertoire for solo voice.
A highlight of Livengood's performance was the "Lorelei," set to a poem by Heinrich Heine. The Lorelei is a steep rock overlooking the Rhine upon which legend places a beautiful siren who lures sailors to a watery grave. Livengood captured both the power and the quiet mystery of this song, so that one could nearly imagine her as the bewitching muse.
Parker sang sets of German, Italian and French poetry, excelling in the four songs based on the work of Victor Hugo, Liszt's close friend. His near-perfect diction brought clarity to these romantic pieces.
He stopped midway through the first of "Three Sonatas of Petrarch," but immediately regained his place, and for the remainder of the set there seemed to be even greater communication between Parker and Douglas than before the slip.
Douglas' accompaniment helped to evoke the scenes that were being painted by the vocalists, as in "Enfant, si j'e'tais roi," depicting the powers and holdings of Liszt's imaginary kingdom.