Soprano Park brings grace and charm to Coral Gables recital

By Lawrence Budmen

Soprano Hyesang Park performed for Friends of Chamber Music Sunday in Coral Gables.

Soprano Hyesang Park performed for Friends of Chamber Music Sunday in Coral Gables. Photo: Dario Acosta

Friends of Chamber Music’s annual recitals by members of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program have been consistent high points of recent South Florida music seasons. These programs showcase young singers of exceptional promise who will likely be heard in prominent operatic and concert repertoire in the near future.

On Sunday afternoon at the UM Gusman Concert Hall, Lindemann artist Hyesang Park offered a lovely program of European art songs, accompanied with subtle musicality by pianist Ken Noda.

The South Korean-born soprano took some time to warm up, displaying some initial harshness in the upper register during Purcell’s “Music for a While,” the program opener. Once she settled in, the strength of Park’s midrange and agility at the top were consistently impressive. She traced the embroidery of coloratura runs in Purcell’s “Sweeter than Roses” with nimble acuity.

Cuatro madrigales amatorios by Joaquín Rodrigo demonstrated  Park’s vocal bona fides and intimate charm. “Con qué lavaré” harks back to Renaissance and Baroque modes and here Park’s gleaming timbre and bright sonority were deployed in a stylish and restrained manner. She delivered the more animated “De dónde venis, amore,” with gutsy flair. In “De los álamos vengo, madre,” the most famous of the songs in the cycle, Park’s control throughout her entire range, beauty of tone and charismatic stage manner recalled the greatest interpreter of this repertoire, Victoria de los Angeles.

Five lieder by Clara Schumann offered a sampling of the compositional output of one of the 19th century’s legendary pianists and the wife of a famed composer. In the warmly romantic melodic outpouring of “Ich stand in dunkel Träumen,” a song about the breakup of lovers, was worthy of Robert Schumann. Park brought just the right touch of sincere naiveté to a country girl’s plea for her lover’s affection in “Liebst du um Schönheit.” She exuded the excitement and delight of spring in “Das ist ein Tag.”

The French repertoire is a natural fit for Park’s voice and most of the second half consisted of Gallic sweets. In two songs by Reynaldo Hahn,  Park’s pure, warm tone was complemented by her intimate delivery, like that of a cabaret singer. Three songs by Gabriel Fauré were more introspective with Park’s high range sailing over the rippling keyboard strokes.

The three songs of Francis Poulenc’s Metamorphoses are right out of the world of Les Six. Poulenc and his five colleagues fused classicism with elements of popular culture in vivid colors. Park encompassed both the torch song infused “C’est ainsi que tu es” and the rapid vocal leaps of “Paganini,” to Noda’s punctuated loud chords.

“Adieu notre petite table” from Massenet’s Manon offered a preview of Park’s operatic future. She sang the heroine’s farewell to her life with her lover Des Grieux with a fervent sense of drama and the perfect light declamation of the text.

Three songs by Enrique Granados concluded the concert. There was sweetness and lyricism in Park’s rendition of “Mañanica era” and she brought a touch of showbiz flair to the zarzuela-like “Gracia mía.”

A small but wildly enthusiastic audience brought her back for an encore of Frederick Loewe’s “I Could Have Danced All Night” from My Fair Lady. Rather than try to turn the familiar tune into an operatic aria, as many singers have attempted, Park exuded Eliza Doolittle’s wide-eyed wonder in theatrical terms, the voice appropriately scaled down. Hyesang Park is a versatile soprano whose future deserves attention.

Friends of Chamber Music (in collaboration with the UM Frost School of Music) presents violinist Kyung Wha Chung and pianist Kevin Kenner 7:30 p.m. June 28 at UM Gusman Concert Hall in Coral Gables. The concert is free for season ticket holders.  

The 2018-2019 season of Friends of Chamber Music will feature the Jerusalem Quartet, New York Philharmonic Quartet, Ehnes Quartet, Curtis Orchestra, soprano Michelle Bradley and pianist Ken Noda, Russian String Orchestra with clarinetist Alexander Fiterstein, Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio with violist Cynthia Phelps, and pianists Nikolai Lugansky, Benjamin Grosvenor and Stephen Hough.

Posted in Performances

One Response to “Soprano Park brings grace and charm to Coral Gables recital”

  1. Posted May 14, 2018 at 9:24 pm by Ty

    She was simply amazing. Loved your performance, Hyesang!

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Mon May 14, 2018
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