Soprano Klara Ek (photo by Sussie Ahlburg)
Last night, Swedish soprano Klara Ek, as Gabriel in Parts One and Two and Eve in Part Three, displayed an extraordinary coloratura technique that allowed her extended aria describing “larks greeting the morning with a happy song, amorous turtle doves billing and cooing, [and the] sweet notes of the nightingale resounding” to resemble bird songs. Her quick, shimmering vibrato continued to contain a vulnerable delicateness, while spacious phrasing and ornaments never seemed old-fashioned. This movement was reinforced by gentle flute solos performed by a new face in the orchestra.
The aria by tenor James Taylor, portraying man’s enlightened “power of intellect” and his wife’s “image of delightful spring” was gorgeous, partially due to Taylor’s ease on stage and fluency with the score. His command of vocal timbre from very reedy to waftily light was equally impressive. Bass-baritone Nathan Berg (Raphael and Adam) had the most tension while singing, although he appeared more comfortable further along in the work. He seemed to enjoy splatting low notes surrounding the text about Earth’s being “pressed down by the weight of beasts” together with the contra-bassoon(s). Haydn was most creative in allowing the text to immediately lead the music in a plethora of affects.
Anne Midgette, 'Creation' Revels In Quiet Splendor (Washington Post, May 1)
This concert by the National Symphony Orchestra will be repeated tonight and Saturday evening (May 1 and 2, 8 pm), in the Kennedy Center Concert Hall.