American Soprano Delights

Sunday Tribune (South Africa)-April 30, 1995
Author: Anthea Johnston.

The extra University of Natal lunch-hour concert this week was indeed special. Visiting American soprano Rose Guccione treated a delighted audience to some superb Lieder and operatic arias. She has a beautifully placed soprano voice, with ringing top notes and impressive control. Her manner is friendly and sincere; her artistry is rare.

In a recital situation – undecorated stage, piano accompaniment – it takes a real artist to create, as she did, a character or a mood in a few words and a couple of notes. Salome’s aria, from Massanet’s opera, Hérodiade was deliciously sensual, without being arch. Guccione’s rich tone expressed the passion and longing inherent in the score, but which is often overripe.

In contrast, Mimi’s aria Mi chiamano Mimi from Puccini’s La Boheme was simplicity itself. Miss Guccione is obviously a talented actress as well and she certainly has the ability to bring Puccini’s heroines to life. Her versatility was confirmed with Schumann’s song cycle Frauenliebe und Leben. To sing art songs well takes both vocal control, intelligence and acting skills and these Miss Guccione has in abundance.

What a pleasure to be able to sit back and just enjoy a fine performance. There were more than a few misty eyes when she finished. A small word of advice would suggest that she leaves Wagner and the weightier Verdi for a good while. She has such a lovely voice it would be foolish to push it too hard by singing résumé that doesn’t sit entirely comfortably.

The popular If I Loved You from Carousel confirmed the importance of sound classical training and a good technique for a singer. A beautiful voice may be a gift, but to develop it to its true potential takes hard work and stamina. To sing several different types of music with persuasive style, so that they all sound entirely natural takes real artistry. Remember the name – Rose Guccione – and if she returns to KwaZulu-Natal, don’t miss her. She’s very special.

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