Edinburgh International Festival music review: Valentina Nafornita/Roger Vignoles, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Carol Main.
Listening to soprano Valentina Nafornita at The Queen’s Hall yesterday morning, it was abundantly clear why she walked off with the coveted BBC Cardiff Singer of the World title four years ago, aged just 24. Captivating and charming in her presentation, the voice is full-bodied, rich and at times sounded more like a mezzo in the opening four songs by Fauré.
Top notes may have wavered a bit in Le Secret, but the sheer power and drama of how she sings is enormously impressive. In Liszt and Rachmaninov, more depth of emotional expression would have been welcome to help convey the meaning of the French, German and Russian texts, but in Nafornita’s choice of three Tchaikovsky songs, all performed from memory, words and music came together as one.
Confident and in full control of her instrument, Nafornita suited the darker colours. I Was a Little Blade of Grass was movingly permeated with the poem’s sorrowful fate of a young girl being married off to an old man.
As accompanist, Roger Vignoles was unobtrusive but always there in underpinning Nafornita’s performance with the redoubtable skill and expertise for which he is world renowned.
Published in The Scotsman on 13 August 2015
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