Devotees of Russian song with a preference for tear-stained, despair-drenched, heart-on-sleeve emotion will find much to relish in Dissonance , the debut solo recital by the Lithuanian-born, Armenian-descended soprano Asmik Grigorian.
Note the title. Grigorian, a fast-emerging figure on international opera stages with a growing reputation for the ferocious heat and burning drama of her performances, takes it at face value. And stays true to its pulse-quickening, heart-aching turbulence in a recital marked by a scorching intensity of feeling and elevated by her clear-sighted treatment of conflicting emotions contesting for a comforting heart and compassionate ear.
The corkscrew-complexities of love, peaks and troughs, dominate in a recital of songs that Grigorian describes as ‘small operas’. Certainly, all 19 pieces here bask in the extremes of emotional ecstasy one expects from Russian opera. And from Rachmaninov. So, the appreciably fevered quality that Grigorian imbues her beautifully precise, dramatically proportioned performances with should come as no surprise.
There are moments of spell-binding repose and reflection, as in the youthfully exquisite setting...