Pasatiempo - - Pasa Tempos -

Clas­sique) This past sum­mer, au­di­ences at Santa Fe Opera cheered the Cana­dian bari­tone Joshua Hopkins as Pa­pageno in The Magic Flute (be­decked in a whirly beanie) and as the li­cen­tious shop hand Sid in Al­bert Her­ring. Vo­cal pu­rity, un­cor­rupted tech­nique, and nat­u­rally crafted dic­tion are his hall­marks, and they serve him well in this recital (with pi­anist Jerad Mos­bey) of 20th-cen­tury English-lan­guage art songs. The key­stone is Ralph Vaughan Wil­liams’ Songs of Travel, a cy­cle from the dawn of the cen­tury set to po­ems by Robert Louis Steven­son. Un­man­nered and re­spect­ful, Hopkins’ read­ing springs more from the lar­ynx than from the text. It stops short of chal­leng­ing the vis­ceral in­ter­pre­ta­tions by Bryn Ter­fel (un­par­al­leled in ma­cho swag­ger) or, es­pe­cially, the po­etic breadth of the peer­less An­thony Rolfe John­son of blessed me­mory. Song sets by Sa­muel Bar­ber and Paul Bowles fare well, the lat­ter aimed at lis­ten­ers who (un­like me) en­joy hear­ing folk­ish “di­alect songs” gussied up in con­cert dress. Very in­ter­est­ing is South of

North — Im­ages of Canada, a cy­cle of eight songs com­posed by Srul Irv­ing Glick to po­ems by Richard Ou­tram. Glick’s del­i­cate, finely wrought set­tings in­ten­sify the poet’s im­ages: flocks of Canada geese, a wil­low-bor­dered river, a knot of ot­ters, “win­ter sum­mer spring au­tumn winds.” It’s a work to warm the hearts of our neigh­bors to the north and prob­a­bly those of us south­ern­ers, too. — James M. Keller

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