Rhinegold Photo credit: Russell Duncan

Francis Muzzu

Review: Ermonela Jaho at Wigmore Hall

4:10, 3rd February 2020

Ermonela Jaho – An Evening with Rosina Storchio

Wigmore Hall, 2 February 2020


It is official that London loves Ermonela Jaho: she received more applause walking onto the stage for her sold-out Wigmore Hall debut than many singers receive at the end of their recital. Performing a programme in homage to the soprano Rosina Storchio, who most famously created Butterfly for Puccini in 1904, the concert celebrated the 50th anniversary of Opera Rara. Jaho appropriately exhumed some obscurities for our delight, including arias from Giordano’s Siberia and Leoncavallo’s La bohème and Zazà, more roles created by Storchio. She also offered a selection of songs ranging from Bellini to Gounod, a little cautiously at first, a couple of vocal bumps perhaps indicating nerves, but with growing ease and confidence.

By the second half of the evening she was in total command of her voice and unleashed her full volume in Massenet’s Sapho, which echoed thrillingly around the hall. Her final piece was Lodoletta’s death scene in its entirety, one of Mascagni’s finest moments, and which in a dream world Opera Rara will perform and record with Jaho. It is the perfect fit for her shimmering soprano and sophisticated artistry.

Pianist Steven Maughan aided and abetted, with the odd slip, but had a chance to shine in his solos, enjoyable salon pieces by Leoncavallo and Giordano. The audience thoroughly relished the evening in all its emotional and old-fashioned glory. It was as though Stravinsky had never happened!

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