Living in New York affords pleasant opportunities. I wasn’t even aware that there was The Concert Space at Beethoven Pianos, 211 West 58th Street. But learning of a recital with the welcoming title, “’Tis the Season, An Evening of Arias and Duets,” I ventured there on December 9th and after wending my way through a display of impressive pianos, I reached the attractive, intimate concert space that seats about 60, a perfect setting for a close-up acquaintance with two accomplished singers.
Ilana Goldberg, soprano, and Rachael Hirsch, mezzo-soprano, have exquisite, strong voices. Both also displayed a talent for acting roles associated with the operatic numbers chosen, and one could easily visualize them on an opera stage, where they surely belong.
With Leesa Dahl expertly at the piano throughout, Goldberg and Hirsch took turns soloing and also performed together, their program consisting primarily of opera, but in the second half demonstrating their versatility with show tunes.
The appealingly sung opening number was “Ah, perdona al primo affetto” from Mozart’s “La Clemenza di Tito,” with Hirsch as Annio and Goldberg as Servilia.
Goldberg than demonstrated her skill with “Neghittosi, or voi che fate” from Handel’s “Ariodante,” followed by Hirsch singing “O Mio Fernando” from Donizetti’s “La Favorita.” Goldberg returned to sing “Ah, douce enfant” from Massenet’s “Cendrillon.” They joined in "Viens Mallika,…Dôme épais” from Delibes’s “Lakmé, with Goldberg as Lakmé and Hirsch as Mallika.
Hirsch had a good time with “Habenera,” from, Bizet’s “Carmen,” as she sashayed through the aisle, choosing a few audience members on whom she doted. Goldberg did justice to Amina’s aria “Ah, non credea mirarti” from Bellini’s “La Sonnambula.”
Switching to modernity, Goldberg sang “My White Knight” from Wilson’s “The Music Man” and the demanding “Getting Married Today” from Sondheim’s “Company,” with an assist by Kyle Torrence.
Goldberg as Maria and Rachael Hirsch as Anita concluded their enjoyable, talent-revealing recital with “A Boy Like That” from Bernstein’s “West Side Story” score. I came away exhilarated and eager to hear more from these fine performers. Posted December 13, 2015.