The Santa Cruz Chamber Players sponsored a concert on Sunday, January 14 at Christ Lutheran Church in Aptos that will long be remembered. The concert featured six excellent performers: Shannon Delaney, Violin I, Rebecca Wishnia, Violin II, Chad Kaltinger, Viola, Kristen Garbeff, Cello and diva Mezzo Soprano Solmaaz Adeli and her superb collaborative pianist Elizabeth Schumann.
Four works were performed: Piano Trio in C major, Hob. XV:27 by Franz Josef Haydn (1732-1809); Five Lieder by Franz Schubert (1797-1828); Selections from 6 Preludes and Fugues, K. 404a by Wolfgang Mozart (1756-1791) and Arianna a Naxos, Hob. XXVIb:2SA by Haydn.
The full meaning of SOLD OUT was lit in bright lights Sunday afternoon when extra chairs had to be brought in to accommodate the huge audience. Cars were parked down the 300 + foot-long driveway to the street! A most impressive turn out for this concert! With all due respect to the excellent professional musicians who performed, the main reason many said was to see and hear Solmaaz and her outstanding assisting pianist Elizabeth Schuman perform Schubert Lieder. Solmaaz has developed into the “Dom Perignon” of the mezzo soprano world, and the audience was in for a treat of pure artistry.
The Lieder of Schubert are some of the most beautiful and rewarding vocal works found in the repertoire. However, for sopranos Schubert’s songs can present a dilemma of sorts simply because a few of the very famous 200 Schubert Songs Anthology for high voice were composed specifically for the male voice and some of these are found in Die Schöne Müllerin and Winterreise.
After the first Goethe Lied, Solmaaz gently motioned to the audience to please hold their applause until the completion of the five songs. In terms of enunciation and articulation of the German texts, Solmaaz had a great deal to offer, she studied at the Konservatorium für Musik und Dramtische Kunst in Vienna, her German was perfect .
She spun out the lines with imagination, soulful feeling and introspection. Her rhythm was relaxed, timed and perfectly balanced with the pianist’s sensitive support. The deep, somber tones were moving as found in the stanza from Du bist die Ruh (Friedrich Rueckert (1788-1866): “With passion and pain to you I give my eye and heart are yours to live…” She floated some extraordinarily clear high notes that transfixed the audience in perfect silence during the rests that followed. Several in the audience gently wiped tears from their eyes during the moving performance.
In Arianna a Naxos, Hob. XXVIb:2SA by Haydn, Solmaaz combined her warm flavorsome mezzo with a fiery dramatic temperament. Throughout the Adagio and Aria (largo) painted the Italian text shades of pastel and personal involvement. A delightful performance! The Santa Cruz Chamber Players are not to be missed in their next concert February 11 and 12 at Christ Lutheran Church.