Music Reviews : Alessandra Marc in Local Recital Debut at Ambassador

An exceptional--some would even say glorious--vocal instrument, a number of technical inconsistencies and an undeveloped interpretive sense characterize the singing of Alessandra Marc. The young soprano made a local recital debut on the Gold Medal series at the Ambassador Auditorium on Monday night.

In what looked on the page like a short program, but one she somehow drew out in length, Marc laid claim to dramatic-soprano territory she may in time conquer. She also exposed some of her vocal shortcomings. In the process, however, she certainly entertained a large and fascinated crowd of voice-fanciers.

Most of the time, Marc’s soprano is opulent, resonant and attractive. Her voice is as ample as her physique. Yet that voice is not even in scale or dynamics; its lowest octave apparently remains green and undeveloped, and, aside from its basic and pleasing ring, it does not contain at this time many colors.

The singer--who makes her Metropolitan Opera debut next season as Aida--might overcome or disguise her deficiencies with artful word-coloration, or other textual nuance, or an urgent musicality, or a dramatic temperament.


But no. These are resources beyond her present state.

With the undistinguished, sometimes pushy, partnership of pianist Steven Eldredge, Marc offered an agenda of arias from “Giulio Cesare,” “Dido and Aeneas,” “La Forza del Destino” and “Turandot,” plus lieder by Brahms and Richard Strauss, that surveyed familiar repertory without defining, delineating or illuminating it.

Except that many notes, even many phrases, emerged gorgeous in sound, there was not a lot to cherish here. Lugubrious, rather than expansive, tempos marked the lieder groups. A limited dynamic scheme never became generous. Through choppy phrasing and general inattention, the singer seldom achieved the longer musical (Brahmsian or Straussian or Verdian) line.

What Marc sang best was “In questa reggia,” for which her clarion sound seems ideal. But even here were disappointments. On the final page, Marc failed to generate full power and energy on the high B’s and C, where they are most needed.


Three encores followed: Hugo Wolf’s “Auch kleine Dinge,” and arias from Catalani’s “La Wally,” and Lehar’s “Paganini.”