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CLASSICAL  March 2001

CLASSICAL March 2001

Subject:

The Dawn of Twyla

From:

Janos Gereben <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 18 Mar 2001 23:27:16 -0800

Content-Type:

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text/plain (35 lines)

Another young artist from the San Francisco Opera Center making her bow in
a Schwabacher Debut Recital, another exciting discovery of a singer with
super-sized talent.

Twyla J Robinson (the J, without period, is a tribute to her grandmother,
Juanita) is 30.  The soprano from Louisiana is now in her second Adler
Fellowship, having participated in the Merola Program.  On Sunday
afternoon, she filled Old First Church with a clear, bright, powerful
voice; performances conveying genuine humor and drama; great diction in
English, German, French, Norwegian and Swedish; and a calm, self-confident,
appealing presence.  Few young singers come with a "package" so complete.

The program for the recital was exemplary: interesting, varied, an
intelligent mix of standards and rarities, all well-suited for Robinson's
voice.  This voice - already heard locally in roles as varied as Lady
Billows in "Albert Herring" and First Lady in "The Magic Flute" - shifted
effortlessly from Haydn to Poulenc to Wolf to Grieg to Sibelius to songs by
Edwin Penhorwood to text by Emily Dickinson and Callum MacColl, and in the
end, to an a capella Irish song.  (For the rest of the concert, Carol Isaac
served as the fine, if occasionally overeager accompanist.)

Robinson's consistent intonation and control at the high end of her voice's
considerable range are impressive indeed.  Where she may need some work is
in maintaining legato when singing in the lower range.  But beyond matters
of technique, the important thing about her is the effortless, believable
sincerity of the presentation, whether the subject is whimsy, tragedy,
quiet sadness or uproarious mocking of the town staying up all night to
catch the man visiting his lover.  Even without a single operatic selection
in her recital (which is a bit strange, but there were no complaints),
Robinson presented a convincing vocal and dramatic claim for some choice
roles on the stage.

Janos Gereben/SF, CA
[log in to unmask]

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