Review: SoiréeMagdalena Kožená, Simon Rattle and chamber musicians
Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center, New York

“Ms. Kožená sang with affecting warmth and shimmering sound… The next work, also inexplicably rare, was Stravinksy’s ‘Three Songs of William Shakespeare’… Ms. Kožená gave a beguiling performance of this skittish and coolly brilliant set, especially the slyly sweet ‘Musick to heare.’”

Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times, 27 November 2019

 

“Kožená can charm an audience with the intelligence with which she approaches each phrase and her phenomenal intensity… As expected, the high point of the recital was the series of songs in Kožená 'snative Czech… With a childish glimmer in her eyes and little dance movements, Kozena seemed to just enjoy the freedom to perform in her own idiom, full of distinctive accents and intonation patterns, so difficult to render by any non-native speaker.”

Edward Sava-Segal, Bachtrack, 28 November 2019

 

“Kožená's voice is an intriguing instrument, far leaner than that of many mezzo-sopranos but uniquely alluring. She eschews excess, so the cries of ‘Aoua! Aoua!’ In the second of Ravel’s Chanson madecasses stood out both for their power and the vehemence with which she sang… Stravinsky’s Three Songs from William Shakespeare for mezzo-soprano, flute, clarinet and viola, and Janacek’s Rikalda in the original version for voice, clarinet and piano were the equivalent of musical astringents in the concert and repertoire, for which Kožená 's voice and temperament are particularly well suited.”

Rick Perdian, Seen and Heard International, 29 November 2019

 

“First on the program was Chausson’s ‘Chanson perpetualle’, making for a lovely and languid introduction to Kožená's clear and lush mezzo-soprano, with the instrumental sections between the stanzas finely evoking a sense of creeping unease.  The disconsolate nature of the text escalated as the narrator recalls the instances of her lover’s presence and embrace, with Kožená's rising, sorrowful passion being underscored with deft trills. The departure of her lover hears lovely expression through the presence of the lone viola, with the rest of the string quartet. Joining back in once his absence is finalised; their tremolo built as Kožená released these feelings strongly, as if with a heavy exhalation that nicely conveyed her forsaken heart… Next in the program was Ravel’s ‘Madegascan Songs’ with the first, ‘Nahandove’ featuring a highly sensual narrative in the text… Kožená treated the text with an affectionate legato, bearing almost evocative repetitions as she calls the name of the titular lover.”

Logan Martell, Opera Wire, 1 December 2019

© 2020 by Lewis Holland Artist Management Ltd.