On an afternoon when most of the area's residents were occupied with matters athletic, it was refreshing to hear soprano Dawn Upshaw turn a basically manic Sunday into a calm, tasteful one with an outstanding recital at the Jewish Community Center. Possessing a full and wonderfully focused lyric voice, she had the audience wrapped around her finger with her engaging manner and absolutely faultless intonation and diction.
The collection of Mozart songs was sung simply, without getting dull, including "The Violet," at once delicate and forthright, and "The Enchanter," with its nimble playfulness. One tends to think of light voices as being somewhat monochromatic when not relying on their agility. Not so in the case of Upshaw, whose selections by Chausson and Schumann demonstrated all the elements of dynamics, imaginative phrasing and understated emotion. The romanticism inherent in Chausson's "Italian Serenade" and Schumann's "It Is He" was communicated with just the right amount of passion.
The chilling five songs, Op. 27, by Prokofiev were gorgeously sung and poems by Emily Dickinson set to songs by a variety of composers proffered a palette of colors from the playful "Papa Above!" by Julianna Hall, in which Upshaw displayed excellent coloratura, to the pensive "Beauty Be Not Caused" by George Perle.