by Jenna Friedman, guest contributor
Multi-faceted soprano Lauren Carter came to the Colburn School’s Thayer Hall last week, with a recital of classical favorites. Entering the stage with her pianist, Anne Lise Longuemare, she cheerfully greeted her waiting audience and launched into Mozart’s “Deh, vieni non tardar” from Le Nozze di Figaro, bringing the character to life as Ms. Longuemare expertly responded to every subtlety in the dynamics and tempi. Following that with three Schubert lieder, “Nacht und Träume”, “Auf dem Wasser zu singen” and “Ständchen”, Ms. Carter sang with confidence, style and a lovely natural vibrato. She spoke before each set, giving a bit of the story behind each song, which made for a more satisfying listen.
Ms. Carter has not followed the traditional path of the classical singer, expanding her musical horizons to integrate pop and classical music and a variety of session and commercial work as well as an active modeling career. Educated in the Midwest and in England, she currently teaches voice at L.A.’s American Musical and Dramatic Academy.
Two highlights of the evening were Puccini’s “O mio babbino caro” from Gianni Schicchi and “Quando m’en vo” from La Bohème. She played the role of Lauretta with humor and the stubbornness of a lovesick teen, causing the audience to respond with resounding applause.
Following the Puccini, the duo performed three selections by Debussy and Poulenc, with a wonderful fluidity of phrasing and strong partnership between voice and piano, creating a graceful balance. Quickly switching gears, Ms. Carter donned jewels and melodrama for Bernstein’s “Glitter and Be Gay” while pertly sipping champagne, the saucy staging of this aria making it a great success.
For her last two selections, Ms. Carter introduced Romanian bass Gabriel Vamvulescu, who has appeared locally with LA Opera and Opera Santa Barbara, as well as various opera companies in Europe and the U.S. He joined Ms. Carter for Verdi’s “Or siam soli” from La forza del destino, and Bernstein’s “One Hand, One Heart,” from West Side Story, his deep, resonant bass providing a pleasing and dramatic contrast to Ms. Carter’s sweeter, lighter tones.
At the concert’s conclusion, after enthusiastic applause, Ms. Carter and Ms. Longuemare returned for a much-anticipated encore, reprising “O mio babbino caro”, to the crowd’s delight. It was a pleasure to see this charismatic performer, and it will be interesting to see where her talents take her in the future.
To hear a bit of Lauren’s pop side, check out the new single, “Graceless” on iTunes