Monday, May 9, 2011

Make It Interesting

Anne Sofie von Otter
Today marks the 56th birthday of Anne Sofie von Otter, a Swedish mezzo-soprano, who is among my favorite singers. Not only does she have a rich, warm voice, but her technique is engaging. Moreover, her performance selections are creative and diverse. Many classical performers fall into a rut in terms of stylistics or performance genre, but ASvO is always exploring new ground and sharing atypical material. Even when she works in the "standard rep" her interpretation and performance brings out new qualities and nuances.

I first took notice of her when I heard a recording of Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, wherein she sang the role of Dido. It wasn't my favorite version, but it definitely caught my attention. It had excellent vocal clarity and precision. The final lament in particular was intense!

A few years later, I noticed that she had recorded some Grieg lieder. I had no interest in Grieg's music, but I remembered her engaging sound and style. So, I gave it a listen. I'm still not sold on Grieg, but her performance brought out the rich melodic texture, the intimate romanticism, of the music. Lovely.

And then there is Schubert. That's when ASvO stole my heart. ;-)

Anyway, here are a few more vids to showcase ASvO's style:

Here's Anne Sofie von Otter's Wikipedia page.

And here's her official website.


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