Sunday, September 16, 2012

Recital: Betany Coffland, mezzo

Sept. 15, 2012

Having completed her four-year residency at Opera San Jose, mezzo Betany Coffland is pursuing life as a freelance singer, including this charming recital at Salle Pianos in San Francisco. Christine McLeavey Payne accompanied her on two of the store's antique instruments, opening on harpsichord for "As With Rosy Steps" from Handel's Theodora then proceeding to fortepiano.

The musical highlights included a gorgeous reading of "Verborgenheit" from Hugo Wolf's Morike Lieder, Payne's sumptuous reading of Wagner's "Isoldens Liebestod" (as transcribed by his father-in-law, Franz Liszt) and "A Chloris," from a trio of love songs by Reynaldo Hahn.

Beyond the treat of hearing Coffland's beautiful instrument in such a small space, the store also provided some funky accoutrement from the Market Street setting. One piece was accompanied by the sound of bottles being thrown out by the restaurant next door, an occasional trolley would make its broad swoosh part of the background, and several passers-by stopped to spy at the windows. John Cage would have loved it.

The Salle store, which specializes in the sale and restoration of European art-case and period pianos, hopes to have more recitals in future. More info at

No comments: