Sarah Connolly presents not only an exqusite hour but a full 75 minutes of French and German song, exquisitely articulated and accompanied. Connolly woos her audience with the calling-card for any and every mezzo: Haydn's Arianna a Naxos. And every second of its nervous and emotional life—its hopes, fears and final despair—are uncovered in Connolly's superbly observant voice and imagination. For Brahms, Connolly and Eugene Asti capture both the tenderly elusive ardour of the folksong, and the finely nuanced legato of those shadowy songs which hover between dream and waking reality. Here, Connolly holds back the words, weighing and weighting them to free the fierce inner passion of a song like 'Von ewiger Liebe'. Her exquisite hour is Verlaine's and Reyanldo Hahn's—and Connolly responds tellingly to this composer's uniquesly sweet-scented archaism.
Korngold and Weill receive a delicious sprinkling of stardust as both singer and pianist relax into cabaret mode, and every word is cherished and most poignantly projected. Connolly concludes her recital with two delightfully unpredictable encores by Ireland and Britten. Her final Tit for Tat becomes a heartfelt and dark questioning of what is, and what is not, true sportsmanship.