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Patricia Sonego - Debut Long on Promise

by Joseph So / April 4, 2000

Patricia Sonego, soprano (Canadian Recital Debut)
Glenn Gould Studio, Toronto
February 26th, 2000

A Simple Pleasure: Songs by Mozart, Bellini, Barab & Faure
Patricia Sonego, soprano
InterMarketing 82401 Time:46:54

Fresh, promising young voices are always welcome, and a smallish but enthusiastic Toronto audience had the pleasure of hearing soprano Patricia Sonego make her Canadian debut at the Glenn Gould Studio recently. A graduate of York University and Hunter College of the City University of New York, Sonego also studied at the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria. She made her professional debut only last May, in the world premiere of American composer Jack Beeson's Sorry, Wrong Number, based on the 1940's Lucille Fletcher radio play. She has also recorded a CD of songs by Mozart, Bellini, Faure, plus a new song cycle, The Rivals, by composer Seymour Barab, which she presented in its entirety in this recital. She is planning to give the same program in Montreal in the near future.

Sonego has a light lyric soprano of pleasing quality, particularly in the middle voice. She uses it with intelligence and sensitivity, though one wishes for a fuller contrast of tone colours necessary to give each song its individuality. Interestingly, the voice sounds fuller "live" than in the recording, which was also taped at the Glenn Gould Studio! Suffering from the nerves of a debut, her attractive stage presence was compromised by a certain stiffness -- throughout the recital, Sonego refrained from using her hands.

Of the four groups, the Bellini comes across as the best, with a particularly affecting "Dolente immagine de Fille mia". The Barab cycle was also well sung, with a nice plaintive quality in the ending of The Hawk and a trill at the end of The Rivals. There were several lapses of memory, most noticeable in the Faure songs, where she had the unfortunate mishap of having to restart "Après un Reve". The formal program was followed by a single encore ­ "A Handful of Maple Leaves", a turn-of-the Century parlour song by Canadian composer Will Westbrook. Michael Eisenberg was generally a sensitive accompanist.

With further study and refinement, this promising voice may join the roster of excellent young Canadian artists.

Joseph So

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