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Felicja Blumental Festival
Stephanie d'Oustrac - mezzo-soprano
Tel Aviv Museum
At this year's Felicja Blumental Festival, mezzo-soprano Stephanie d'Oustrac, one of France's outstanding younger singers, presented a selection of operatic pieces by Luigi Rossi, an unjustifiably almost forgotten composer of the early Italian Baroque.
There is something uncommonly enchanting about d'Oustrac's warm, low voice, which can be soft and caressing in lyric pieces, and clear and radiant in higher registers. It can also become intensely expressive, as in the profoundly moving "Laments of Arion" and "Orfeo," which concludes with an almost inaudible pianissimo. Her penchant for operatic acting, always discreet and tastefully controlled, becomes forcefully dramatic and menacing in "Jealousy." And her appealingly flexible voice sounds lighthearted and merry in "The Content Luciminia." D'Oustrac's always present natural charm becomes altogether captivating in "The prettiest Pretty." Above all, this early music, often considered dry and academic, sounds full of vibrant vitality in her renditions. Hearing (and seeing) d'Oustrac is a pure delight from the first to the last moment. One hopes that this, her first visit to this country, will not be her last.
The L'Arpeggiata ensemble, directed by Christina Pluhar, presented various Ciacconas spiced with witty surprises and displayed formidable command of the tricky period instruments.