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Elina Garanca and Kevin Murphy at Carnegie Hall

Elina Garanca
Elina Garanca

Elina Garanca, Kevin Murphy


Elina Garanca, one of the greatest new artists to hit the scene in recent years, made her New York recital debut at Carnegie Hall on Saturday, April 6, 2013, with pianist Kevin Murphy. The Latvian mezzo soprano sang but three composers; Robert Schumann, Alban Berg, and Richard Strauss, but it happened that these chosen three were enough for her to flex her strong musicality and show her grand artistry.

Ms. Garanca has made quite a name for herself in the past few years. Most noteably her break out role as Carmen at the Met three seasons ago. And in that short time, this extremely talented singer has been in demand, and will continue to be so for many, many seasons to come.

She began the evening with two sets from Schumann. The latter of which were the most memorable, and ended the first act. She had such a wide spread warmth to her voice, but she was able to focus the sound to a point that would swell up into the rafters. With “Seit ich ihn gesehen,” she conveyed to us her vulnerable side, and with the remaining seven songs, she performed for us the gambit of emotions of love.

She begin the second half of the program in a stunning one-shoulder green gown that wowed the audience as she made her entrance. Bergs Sieben frühe Lieder is not a new piece to me, but Ms. Garanca was able to breathe new light into it, and add her own take on the piece. Her best work came in “Die Nachtigall” where, as she sang, “die Rosen aufgesprungen,” one could not help but be taken by the moment she created.

One cannot miss the power that she had in her voice. This fact was made quite clear during her set of Strauss pieces. Yet she was also able to hold us in rapt anticipation, as she did during “Meinem Kinde, Op. 37, No. 3.” And what is more remarkable is that fact that she is still so young. Which showed a little now and again, but those moments were very minor. She had such a wonderfully communicative connection that never broke throughout the entirety of the evening. From piece to piece she rode the emotions of the song along with her counterpart on the ivory keys. There was just as much much text in her voice as there was on the pages of the music. She was, simply put, such a great story teller.

When all was said and done, what one was left with the feeling of witnessing a beautifully charming night of music performed by two great communicators. It is very difficult to stand in front of an audience and sing these pieces that even outdate the house in which they are being sung, but Ms. Garanca, with the help of Mr. Murphy, was able to make them just as fresh as the day they were printed. And it is the opinion of this examiner that Ms. Garanca and Mr. Murphy will be back to New York many times over.

She even received two bouquets during her bows. And, in showing her gratitude to her collaborator, she tore out a flower form the first bouquet and gave it to Mr. Murphy.

For more information about Elina Garanca, click here.

For more information about Carnegie Hall, click here.