Magazine article Opera Canada

Love's Minstrels

Magazine article Opera Canada

Love's Minstrels

Article excerpt

This impressive recital by bass-baritone Philippe Sly is rather misleadingly subtitled "English songs from the 19th and 20th centuries" because all the works by the five composers included date From the 20th century. It may be a moot point, since English music of the period was steeped in .a conservative style that often challenges chronology Nevertheless,. this collection is surprisingly varied and includes some gems, not to mention beautiful, artful singing.

Still in his mid-20s, Sly has already built an enviable career. First-prize winner of the 2012 Montreal International Music- Competition and grand-prize winner of the 2011 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, he is an alumnus of San Francisco Opera's Merola Program and the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio. This disc, with Michael McMahon serving as an admirable accompanist, is his second solo release and his third recording for Analekta. Recent solo engagements have included appearances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Les Violons du Roy and the Philadelphia Orchestra.

The set opens with a group of four British folk-song arrangements by English-born Canadian composer Healey Willan, who lived and worked nearly his entire adult life in 'Toronto, where he moved in 1914. He was a central. figure in the city's church-music scene, completing more than 800 works for all types of forces. …

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