Janice Chandler Eteme soars in Tiffany Series recital at Brown Memorial
Not long after I arrived in Baltimore a dozen years ago, I heard a performance by soprano Janice Chandler Eteme.
I felt then that she had one of the most innately beautiful, warming voices I'd encountered in a long while, and that she would be well worth hearing even if she were merely doing vocal exercises. I still feel that way.
So it was nice to be in the singer's presence again Saturday night at Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church, where she gave a recital presented by the Tiffany Series.
Chandler Eteme, ably accompanied by pianist JoyAnne Amani Richardson, chose a program rich in melodic and textual quality.
There was much to savor, from the stately lines of Handel's "Dank sei dir Herr," which she delivered with an intensely glowing tone, to the introspective, haunting songs "Chanson triste" and "I'invitation au voyage" by Duparc, which the soprano caressed eloquently.
Perhaps with the over-reverberant acoustics of the church in mind, most of the tempos were on the slow side. That kept the notes from mushing together, but the pace sometimes ...
Where the music called for spaciousness, though, Chandler Eteme provided it in abundance and to memorable effect. Schubert's "Nacht und Traume" was a particularly transfixing case in point.
The soprano included a welcome burst of operatic singing in the concert -- two selections from Verdi's "La traviata." She negotiated the coloratura of "Sempre libera" valiantly and got to the heart of the aria. With a promising tenor, Devin Mercer, she also sculpted "Parigi, o cara" quite elegantly. (Too bad Mercer did not also provide the off-stage tenor lines for "Sempre libera.")
Chandler Eteme summoned remarkable tonal radiance and communicative power for the beloved Margaret Bonds arrangement of "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands." The afterglow of that performance stayed with me through the rest of the weekend.
PHOTO COURTESY OF JANICECHANDLERETEME.COM