Magazine article Opera Canada

In Dreams

Magazine article Opera Canada

In Dreams

Article excerpt

PHILIPPE SLY MICHAEL MCMAHON

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Last June, bass-baritone Philippe Sly took all the major prizes at the Montreal International Musical Competition, wowing audience and critics. He was also a grand prizewinner of the Metropolitan Opera Auditions in 2011. All this at 23 years of age. Those who heard him as Cadmus in last season's COC Ensemble Studio performance of Handel's Semele had ample demonstration that he is a prodigiously talented singer who seems destined for a major career. Slim and handsome, he cuts a dashing figure on stage. The voice is an exceptionally beautiful instrument--warm, smooth, even from top to bottom and used with a poet's sensibility.

This release is his debut solo album, and it's an auspicious one. The centerpiece is Schumann's Dichterliebe, sung with refulgent tone, plenty of chiaroscuro and abundant musicality. For a bass-baritone, Sly has an unusually well developed top register, which rings out thrillingly on the disc. He tosses off the high A in "Ich grolle nicht" with consummate ease; similarly, the high note in "Chanson epique" from Ravel's Don Quichotte a Dulcinee is handled beautifully. …

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