Bass-baritone Stuart O’Hara and collaborative pianist Matthew Jorysz present a morbid programme of Russian, German, and French song with a glimmer of Spanish light to keep spirits up.
A selection of Wolf’s settings of the poet Eduard Mörike and the anonymous Spanish songbook are followed by Ibert’s Don Quixote songs, written for the great Russian bass Fyodor Chaliapin to sing in G.W. Pabst’s 1933 film, in which he played the would-be caballero of La Mancha.
To finish, they present Musorgsky’s cycle of songs in which death wears many outfits – babysitter, lover, peasant, field-marshal – in order to carry out her grim duties. Her? Certainly. In Russian, death (smert) is a feminine noun.