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1 avril 2015
Canadian soprano Marie-Eve Munger’s debut album, Colorature, is an ambitious collection of virtuoso French mélodies from the late-nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century. Munger could have chosen more traveled roads for her recording debut, but she and Canadian pianist Louise-Andrée Baril instead selected repertoire that showcases Munger’s crystalline high notes and virtuosity, as well as her intelligence, musicality and poetic sensitivity. The program contains songs and études by Gabriel Fauré, Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, Louis Beydts and Darius Milhaud and a daunting concerto for coloratura soprano by Reinhold Glière.
Five early songs by Debussy cover a range of topics including love, quiet and fantastical, immortality, regret and — in the long ballad “Les Elfes” — the paranormal and sinister. Munger sings each track with specificity, shading her voice and using the melismatic and stratospheric passages to enhance her role as poet and storyteller. She has no trouble mesmerizing the listener with Fauré’s simple “Vocalise-étude.” The tessitura of this etude, as well as that of Ravel’s, also included on this album, is surprisingly low. In both pieces, the soprano shows that she doesn’t need trills, wide-ranging scales and high notes to make an impression; she can transform conservatory exercises into meaningful, memorable music.
The two complete cycles on the album, Beydts’s 1948 Chansons pour les Oiseaux and Milhaud’s 1941 Chansons de Ronsard, were written for two famous French singers. In Beydts’s elegant creation for Janine Micheau, Munger’s luxurious middle voice is used to full advantage in the smooth lyricism of “La colombe poignardée” and “L’oiseau bleu,” the latter ending on an enraptured high D-flat. The fourth song, “Le petit serin en cage,” betrays Beydts’s success as a composer of French operetta and allows Munger’s personality to shine. The Milhaud cycle was written for Lily Pons, a superstar of her era, whose voice sparkled brightest in show-stopping filigree. The four songs are harmonically and melodically rich, with Milhaud decorating the poems of the sixteenth-century Ronsard with Pons-inspired scales, trills and acuti. Munger imbues these outbursts with intention and weaves them into vivid musical tapestries.
Glière (1875–1956) was a Russian-born composer whose career spanned the late Romanticism of Tchaikovsky and the trials of Shostakovich. Written in 1943, Glière’s Concerto for Coloratura and Orchestra, performed here with Baril on piano, is a flashback to the melancholic romances and flashy waltzes of Imperial Russia. Glière gives no indication of how the singer and, in this case, the pianist should navigate his long phrases, but Munger and Baril rise to the challenge. They allow the shorter phrases to expand, while the longer ones, which contain some unexpected leaps and tricky accidentals, are sculpted to display Munger’s exceptional breath control without rushing or weighing down the flow of the music. The second movement is an exciting, rhythmic romp, with the voice performing chromatic somersaults atop the waltz in the piano. Munger, who shies away from indulging in gratuitous high notes throughout the album, ends the concerto on a pristine, optional high F, a carefree dénouement to a promising debut album.
Steven Jude Tietjen - Operanews.com
Ici Radio-Canada Première / Samedi et rien d'autre
10 janvier 2015
« une très grande virtuose »
Edgar Fruitier - Samedi et rien d'autre
Médium Large - Ici Radio-Canada Première
28 novembre 2014
« Elle est extrêmement expressive. C'est très réussi (...) très impressionnant »
Chronique complète disponible ici: http://ici.radio-canada.ca/emissions/medium_large/2014-2015/chronique.asp?idChronique=356584
Frédéric Lambert - Médium Large, Ici Radio-Canada Première