Arts & Events

New: The Musical Magic of Katja Heuzeroth in Santa Clara

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Monday May 14, 2018 - 10:00:00 PM

Repeating her brilliant success as Kashcheyevna, daughter of the evil sorcerer Kashchey in Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera Kashchey, The Immortal, German-born mezzo-soprano Katja Heuzeroth sang excerpts from this opera on Sunday, May 13, at the Triton Art Museum in Santa Clara. Once again, the magic of Katja Heuzeroth’s voice had its way with this glorious music, which was performed here by Cal Arte Chamber Orchestra led by conductor Dr. Michael Shahani. Singing much of the Scene II music of this opera, Katja Heuzeroth opened with Kashcheyevna’s aria while picking herbs in her garden for her magic potion, then launched into the sword-sharpening aria, and, finally, was joined by baritone Kiril Havezov as Prince Ivan, whose entrance soon led to the magically inspired love duet between a besotted Ivan and the seductive Kashcheyevna. Once again, the magic of this scene was as much in Katja Heuzeroth’s rapturous voice as in any magic potion. Her voice has richly burnished low notes and bright, clear high notes. Moreover, Katja Heuzeroth is a highly expressive singer who endows her performance with passion and intensity. 

Opening the program at Triton Art Museum were two new songs composed by Luis Andrei Cobo. Accompanied by Tamami Honma on piano and a string quartet, soprano Heather Green sang “Time does not bring relief,” composed on a poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay, and “Worms,” set to a poem by Heather Green herself. Cobo’s music is angular, involving the singer in vocal leaps. In the harsh acoustic space of the Triton Museum’s concert hall, Heather Green’s voice was literally bouncing off the walls, so great were the reverberations.  

After intermission, Tamami Honma, Cal Arte Chamber Orchestra’s Artistic Director, conducted Mozart’s Requiem. Soloists for the Requiem were Heather Green –soprano, Katja Heuzeroth – mezzo-soprano, Woojeong Lee – tenor, and Kiril Havezov – baritone. The chorus was comprised of the Cal Arte Singers. For this performance, Tamami Honma opted to replace the Mozart era Süssmayr reconstruction of Mozart’s unfinished score with the recent Franz Beyer reconstruction, which ends the work with Lux aeterna. This ending, with its fugue, highlights the way Mozart in this Requiem hearkened back to older musical traditions of Bach and Handel even as he boldly forged new musical ground. All in all, this was a very successful concert, one well worth the drive to Santa Clara.