Arts & Events

Alice Chung & Laureano Quant In Recital

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Sunday February 02, 2020 - 05:51:00 PM

g The first Schwabacher Recital of 2020 was held on Wednesday evening, January 29, at Taube Atrium Theatre in San Francisco’s War Memorial Building. Featured performers were 

mezzo-soprano Alice Chung and baritone Laureano Quant, accompanied on piano by Nicholas Roehler. Both Alice Chung and Laureano Quant are recent graduates of the Merola Opera Program, where they distinguished themselves in concerts and operas. Now, given a whole evening to themselves, they demonstrated that they have the talent to be opera stars of tomorrow. 

Indeed, Alice Chung may be ready now to achieve star power in the opera world. Her mezzo-soprano voice is opulent, enormous in range and power, and precisely focused even at the very top of her range. Alice Chung has the vocal power to project her voice successfully in even the largest opera house. My one reservation is that in the intimate setting of a recital in Taube Atrium Theatre, with no orchestra and only a piano accompanying her, Alice Chung may need to reign in her power a bit. Some of her high notes sung fortissimo in this setting almost risked puncturing the ear drums of the audience!  

Some of the highlights of this recital were excerpts from Les nuits d’été by Hector Berlioz. Singing in French with perfect diction, Alice Chung offered sensitive, even sensational, renderings of Le spectre de la rose, Sur les lagunes, and Absence. Likewise, Laureano Quant offered excellent renditions of Berlioz’s Villanelle, Au Cimetiere and L’ile inconnue. Earlier in the evening, the recital opened with four songs by Francesco Santoliquido. Sung in Spanish, these songs were shared equally by Laureano Quant and Alice Chung. Then Laureano Quant, who hails from 

Bogota, Colombia, sang two songs of his own composition. These songs, under the collective title of Sombras/Shades, featured angular piano accompaniment and extended dynamic range for the baritone singer. In fact, the song Les voces silenciosas/The silent voices ended with a 

dramatic whisper by Laureano Quant. Rounding out the Spanish section of the program was a lullaby from Luis Carlos Figueroa sung beautifully by Alice Chung. 

After intermission pianist Nicholas Roehler expertly performed Claude Debussy’s Prélude from Suite Bergamasque. Then Laureano Quant and Alice Chung sang four of the five Rückertlieder by Gustave Mahler. Laureano Quant gave a sensitive rendition of Ich atmet’ einen linden Duft/ I breathe a Gentle Fragrance and a spirited rendition of Liebst du um Schönheit/If you love for beauty. Alice Chung then offered a sensitive performance of Blicke mir nicht in die Lieder/Don’t look at my songs and a magisterial performance of the wonderful Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen/ I am lost to the world. The latter song, a true masterpiece, was one of the supreme highlights of the whole program.  

To close out the recital, Laureano Quant and Alice Chung sang selections from Cabaret Songs by William Bolcom. Singing in English, they acted out the break-up of a romance as they shared the song At the last lousy moments of love. They also acted out the dialogue between 

father and child in Love in the Thirties. As an encore, they sang Over the Rainbow, which they dedicated to Sheri Greenawald, the beloved Director of San Francisco Opera Center and tireless mentor of the Merola singers.