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Mezzo: Michelle Breedt
Piano: Nina Schumann
Cat. #: TP1039077
Label: TwoPianists Records
Recorded at: Endler Hall, Stellenbosch University, South Africa - November 22 - 28, 2010
South African-born Michelle Breedt has graced the most prominent concert and opera stages in Europe since her move to Germany in 1990. Appearing at, amongst others, the Salzburg and Bayreth Festivals and working with such luminaries as Ozawa, Tielemann, de Billy and Harnoncourt, her rich mezzosoprano voice has elicited ecstatic reviews.
TwoPianists Records is proud to announce its association with Michelle on a first disc featuring Shakespeare in song. What makes this disc so unique is that most people associate artsong with Germany or France, never England! It is indeed true that England was known as ‘Anglia non Cantat’ and endured a musical silence of almost 200 years following the death of Henry Purcell in 1695. By the late 19th century English composers rediscovered their tradition, amongst them Elgar, Vaughan Williams, Cecil A Gibbs, Frederick Delius and later Eric Coates and Benjamin Britten. Thus this disc represents a journey spanning 100 years of Shakespeare texts at the pen of his countrymen combined with a collage of ‘english’ atmospheric songs on nature and love. Where Michelle Breedt has become known for her stellar performances of Wagner in particular, her versatility from the opera to the concert stage is remarkably captured on this disc.
The songs command an astonishing array of nuances from the voice: from the renaissance sounds of ‘Under the Greenwood Tree’, the sweeping romanticism of ‘Where is Sylvia?’, to the luscious tango of another ‘Under the Greenwood Tree’. Each song is unique, yet an integrated body that tells not only a vocal story but binds the British in a common purpose. Subtleties in expression as well as lush and intimate sounds characterise this disc.