reviewed by Paula Citron
Performed by Susie LeBlanc, Michele DeBoer, Katherine Hill and Laura Pudwell
At Trinity-St Paul’s Centre
The early music group Toronto Consort puts on fascinating themed concerts. The Primadonnas celebrated four famous Italian baroque professional singers through the music associated with them. Instrumental numbers were interpolated between vocal numbers which made for an evening of delicacy and charm. Composers included Monteverdi, Frescobaldi, Peri, Caccini and many more.
Special guest soprano Susie LeBlanc interpreted the songs of Anna Renzi (1620-1661), while company members Michele DeBoer, Katherine Hill and Laura Pudwell sang for Vittoria Archilei (1582-1620), Virginia Andreini (1583-1629) and Barbara Strozzi (1619-1677) respectively.
LeBlanc is an expressive performer, and in the excerpt from Luigi Rossi’s Orfeo, which featured all four singers, she was an enchanting Eurydice. Her light feathery voice is full of colour, and her consummate connection to the text makes for a rich interpretation. Her ease of delivery belies the vocal difficulties.
The Toronto Consort woman are all very different singers. Mezzo-soprano Pudwell’s has a rich meaty voice and classy delivery. DeBoer’s clear soprano makes for purity of sound, while soprano Hill is strong in her middle and lower range with articulated declamatory skills.
The impact of the program was as a balm to a tired soul. One left the concert restored and uplifted, and if that sounds like purple prose, it is also the truth.