Soprano Vovkova’s US debut in a Milwaukee recital

By - Feb 27th, 2011 10:11 pm
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Katarina Vovkova

For the small audience gathered in Vogel Hall on Saturday evening, vocal delights were in abundance. In a repeat performance of a program of favorite opera arias presented Friday evening, Slovakian soprano Katarína Vovková showed poise and superb musicality.

Currently a resident of the Czech Republic, Vovková has found success in opera, concerts and oratorios at home and in Belgium, Croatia and Japan. Her Friday and Saturday concerts at Marcus Center Vogel Hall were her first in America.

The concert program, chosen with the help of her husband, baritone Aleksandr Vovk, was a jewel box of opera favorites. In such arias as Casta Diva from Bellini’s Norma to Ritorna vincitor! from Aida, Vovková demonstrated the range and warm color of her voice. She has excellent control of her instrument and a nuanced palette of dynamics and emotions.

No recital by a Czech soprano would be complete without a performance of Dvorak’s Měsíčku na nebi hlubokém ­– Rusalka’s Song to the Moon – and Vovková delivered with lyrical grace and style.

Pianist Matthew Bergey provided solid and subtle accompaniment to Vovková’s artistry throughout the evening.

Vovková treated each aria as if it were semi-­staged. She imbued all of them with appropriate gesture and feeling. Too often I have seen singers with good diction and technique just sing notes without communicating the soul of a piece. The best among them can do both, and Vovková resides in that category.

Two duets with Vovk, Director of the Vocal Studies Department at the University of Ostrava, Czech Republic, were special treats. Their witty rendition of Alfredo and Violetta’s Brindisi, Libiamo ne’lieti calici fittingly preceded the intermission champagne reception. (Nothing says “artsy party with champagne” like an aria from La Verdi’s La Traviata.) The two singers finished the evening with an emotional, gripping interpretation of the confrontation between Leonora and the Count di Luna in Qual voce! Come! Tu, donna? from Verdi’s Il Trovatore.

This concluding duet garnered resounding cries of bravo! and a standing ovation from all those present.

Proceeds from the recitals will go towards the Intercultural Assistance For Environmental Development’s Give­a­Book and arts awareness programs. Click here for more information may be had about IAFED.

Marianne Kordas is currently coordinated graduate degrees in music history and library science at UWM.

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