Elizabeth Caballero delights audience in wide-ranging recital

By Lawrence Budmen

Elizabeth Caballero

Orchestra Miami presented Elizabeth Caballero in an impressive, wide-ranging recital before a large and enthusiastic audience Saturday night at First Presbyterian Church in Miami.

The Cuban-born, Miami-based soprano recently made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Frasquita in Carmen and is scheduled to sing the role of Liu in Puccini’s Turandot with Florida Grand Opera next season.

Caballero’s lustrous lyric soprano is a model of strong, clean technique and vocal control. She spans the soprano range effortlessly without scooping or breaks between registers. The sheer beauty of her sound was beguiling despite the church’s cavernous acoustics.

Opening with a Mozart group, Caballero floated the melodic line of Un moto di gioa winningly, her lovely high tones free of strain. She brought appropriate dramatic power to Ridente la calma and unfurled agile coloratura and a fine sense of classical style in the Allelujah from Exsultate Jubilate.

Beethoven’s dramatic scena Ah Perfido was something of a stretch for this gifted singer. Caballero sang the notes accurately and made a strong attempt at this difficult aria by sheer force of will but the dramatic music is heavy going for her lyric instrument.

Four Rossini songs were an utter delight. Caballero traced the playful line of La Promessa with enchanting lightness. L’Invito was a vivacious bolero, rendered with appropriate languor and a dusky lower register. The familiar La Danza was tossed off with fiery abandon and  sense of fun. Orchestra Miami artistic director Elaine Rinaldi was a first rate accompanist, investing the keyboard line with brightness and lovely Italianate sparkle.

The highlight of the evening was Caballero’s exquisite rendition of Liszt’s  Petrarch Sonnets. This work finds Liszt at his most introspective, without much of the flamboyance and superficiality of his pianistic and orchestral scores. Caballero’s vocal radiance launched Pace non trovo into full romantic bloom. In Benedetto sia ‘l giorno, she exuded despair and sorrow, her gutsy low tones deeply poignant and effective. The soprano’s moving version of L’ Vidi in Terra Angelici was meltingly beautiful, replete with a lovely stream of unforced, rapturous tone and deeply felt emotion. Rinaldi ably encompassed Liszt’s impassioned, virtuosic piano writing.

A Cuban in Vermont: Five Simple Songs by Jorge Martin received its Florida premiere. An appealing conflation of impish, bluesy Gershwin turns with Latin rhythms, the text (by the composer) runs the gamut from delights of love and the taste of juicy fruits to yearning and nostalgia for places and times lost.

Expertly crafted and melodically inspired, the work clearly struck a personal chord with many audience members. Caballero and Rinaldi brought unpretentious sincerity and strong musicianship to this witty and sad score by a talented Cuban-American composer.

Offering crowd pleasing songs by Ernesto Lecuona and Eduardo Sanchez de Fuentes, Caballero brought high style and effervescent joy to these Latin gems. As encores, she offered a rhythmically visceral rendition of the title song from Gonzalo Roig’s zarzuela Cecilia Valdez and a gorgeous Musetta’s Waltz from Puccini’s La Boheme, an impressive display of this versatile soprano’s range and artistic sensibilities.

Posted in Performances

4 Responses to “Elizabeth Caballero delights audience in wide-ranging recital”

  1. Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 9:42 pm by Mrlody

    We ere also impressed by this great soprano and her rendition of such varied pieces. We were also delighted to hear Jorge Martin’s work for the first time in Miami.

  2. Posted Jun 13, 2010 at 11:11 pm by Jeanna

    Thank you to both Miss. Caballero & Miss. Rinaldi in giving Miami a unforgettable evening.

  3. Posted Jun 14, 2010 at 11:15 am by Fernando Hernandez

    I confess I am not much of an opera aficionado. But after attending Elizabeth’s program on Saturday night, I was captured by the grace and beauty of her voice. What a performance!!!

  4. Posted Jun 14, 2010 at 2:55 pm by Rodolfo

    A thrilling evening by an amazing performer and beautiful singer and, IMHO, the highlight of the evening was the Beethoven followed by the Liszt pieces. The Martin songs were also quite fun.

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Sun Jun 13, 2010
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