REVIEW – Nadine Koutcher: impressive technique, delicacy and drama

Martin Kettle, The Guardian

Belarussian soprano performing on stage with Julius Drake, pianist

Warm musicality … Nadine Koutcher and accompanist Julius Drake.Photograph: Tristram Kenton for the Guardian

Last June Nadine Koutcher took the 2015 Cardiff Singer of the World title by storm. Now, nearly a year on, the Temple Music Foundation pulled off the notable coup of presenting her London recital debut in Middle Temple Hall, with its artistic director Julius Drake as her considerable accompanist.

The technique was every bit as impressive as it had seemed in Cardiff , but now one also noticed the expressive delicacy and colour of the voice as well as its impressive evenness, caressing the opening phrases of the Liszt’s S’il est un charmant gazon with ideal softness and spinning out the final invocation of the beloved in Oh! Quand je dors surrounded by a garland of Lisztian arpeggios from the keyboard. That softness came again in Berg’s Im Zimmer, but in these songs it was the sustained command of the lush vocal line that impressed even more.

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