Lisa Cassidy & Gareth Williams, Norwich

CHRISTOPHER SMITH The second of the "Music at One" lunchtime series at the Assembly House gave soprano Lisa Cassidy every opportunity to impress with a delightful voice, intelligent interpretations and a charming manner.

CHRISTOPHER SMITH

The second of the "Music at One" lunchtime series at the Assembly House gave soprano Lisa Cassidy every opportunity to impress with a delightful voice, intelligent interpretations and a charming manner. A striking figure in her scarlet gown, she knew the art of reinforcing the meaning of her songs with no more than a hint of a gesture and just an occasional glint in the eye.

She began with Purcell's How Sweet Is Love, contrasting its ready emotions with something deeper in the florid arioso of The Fatal Hour. In four songs by Bellini, emphasis fell more on tunefulness, the third of them making a particular impression with its enchanting hints of melancholy.

Clear lines, lively rhythms and a reserve of volume for crucial moments brought out the style of settings by Rodrigo, with all their teasing assertiveness, cheeky self-confidence and an echo of Spain. Three Fauré melodies in French made rather less of an impression. With Gershwin and Kern came a change of tone and the capacity to identify with the emotions that were more direct and earthy.


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These American numbers worked well as a conclusion – and one that was not overextended to a fine recital. Throughout, pianist Gareth Williams had provided sensitive accompaniment that had character, even fire, but never tried to upstage the singer.

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