Some vocalists prosper in a recital space. A little area welcomes extremities of intimate expression; audiences can end up being the confidants of a lovelorn raconteur. Other voices, however, are much better suitable for an opera home — abundant to the point of superhuman strength, thrilling for their athleticism as much their artistry.
Michael Spyres — a baritenor, that uncommon type of vocalists, more common in Rossini’s time, who nimbly cover the series of baritones and tenors — would best be referred to as an opera home singer. His brave and nimble noise, flourishing at the bottom and efficient in an uncomplicated leap to Italianate exclamation at the top, is practically comically uncontainable someplace like the snug Board of Officers Space at the Park Opportunity Armory, where Spyres appeared with the pianist Mathieu Pordoy on Wednesday night.
For Brand-new Yorkers, however, this was an uncommon chance to hear Spyres in any sort of environment. American-born and a significant entertainer in Europe, he didn’t make his method to the Metropolitan Opera up until 2020. (Fortunately he will be back, in Mozart’s “Idomeneo,” later on this month.) He offered a performance with the tenor Lawrence Brownlee last season, an astonishing program based upon their album “Amici e Rivali,” however made his solo recital launching here just today.
Available were 3 sets of tunes, in as numerous languages, that display Spyres’s huge variety — vocally, though not always interpretively. His technique to efficiency, which focuses on appeal over character, fits him well in a work like “Idomeneo,” however less so in lieder, which on Wednesday handled a type of flatness in spite of his Olympian power, a level course along a mountain’s ridge.
You might hear him practically having a hard time to limit himself in Beethoven’s pioneering cycle “An die Ferne Geliebte,” a work that can be silently individual however here was more in the magnificent vein of that author’s opera, “Fidelio.” And when he did shift in between signs up of strength, it was with less convenience than, state, his talented ease in forming long melodic lines. In Berlioz’s “Les Nuits d’Éte,” he stuck around in a soft, splendid falsetto throughout the tune “Au cimetière: clair de lune,” however in the work’s opening “Villanelle” the relocation from strength to piano was accompanied by a gravelly shift .
Pordoy, to his credit, matched Spyres with rich and opulent playing that got its own minute under the spotlight with the Liszt solo “L’Idée Fixe,” based upon the yearning style of Berlioz’s “Symphonie Fantastique.” It was an ultra-Romantic appetiser ahead of Liszt’s “Tre Sonetti del Petrarca” — although a heavy one, foie gras prior to a fatty steak. Because trio of tunes, Spyres the Bel Canto star was most in his aspect: his tenor both rending and rending, his high notes both tossed off and made to flower with long crescendos.
It was the sort of music that can leave an audience asking for a repetition, which Spyres fasted to use, coyly holding up a finger as if to request for another tune. He began with the Beethoven rarity “In questa tomba oscura,” mournful and gradually streaming, then stated, “We can’t leave you on a low note.” So the crowd-pleasing sound world of Liszt returned one last time with “Enfant, si j’étais return of investment.”
At one point throughout that tune, his voice called out so strongly that, at an abrupt time out, it continued to haunt the space in the silence. You might have misinterpreted the noise for the resonance of a grand auditorium.
Michael Spyres and Mathieu Pordoy
This program repeats on Friday at the Park Opportunity Armory, Manhattan; armoryonpark.org.