Music Reviews : Ruby Hinds in Local Recital Debut at Caltech

Ruby Hinds is one of those panoramic singers who sweeps all before her. She has a voice with a view.

Whether holding forth for Philip Glass’ “the CIVIL warS,” as she did several years ago with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, or giving her first local recital, which she did Friday at Caltech in Ramo Auditorium, the statuesque mezzo commands a strong vantage in music that is epic or emblematic.

She also looks the part. Unmannered, yet urbane, chic and glamorous, Hinds makes a majestically idealized Everywoman. Only when she steps out of character, as she did for a hip-switching, throwaway Seguidilla from “Carmen,” her single encore, did the singer hedge interpretively in a mixed program.


And while she failed to delve into the subtleties of “Wenn mein Schatz,” the remaining three items from Mahler’s “Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen” were given their compelling and wistful due. For “Ging heut morgen,” Hinds’ clarion voice rang out with the purity of unbridled innocence, and elsewhere she painted Mahlerian pathos in word, sound and image--notwithstanding the competent piano accompaniments of David Holkeboer.

Her unarticulated French emphasized a monochromatic delivery of three Duparc melodies and Montsalvage’s “Canciones Negras,” especially the lullaby, captivated with light, languid crooning, exceptionally masterful legato and breath control.