I go to a lot of performances by young singers. I regularly attend concerts of the Merola Opera program, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and regional opera companies. One of the pleasures of going to these performances is hearing interesting and exciting new voices.
But it's far more rare to see a young singer who is a mature artist. Kindra Scharich first came to my attention in the role of Florinda in Ars Minerva's production of Carlo Pallavicino's The Amazons in the Fortunate Isles (Le Amazzoni nelle Isole Fortunate). I wrote in my post about the opera that "Scharich's rich mezzo-soprano in particular is gorgeous." So when I saw that she would be singing a program of lieder as part of the amazing free chamber music festival SF Music Day, I made a point of attending her program.
What I experienced was ravishing. Scharich has a wonderful voice, with a rich lower register and a gleaming top. But she doesn't just have a beautiful sound; she's a marvelously eloquent performer. Her expressiveness transforms each song into a subtle mini-drama. And although she can rise to operatic volume levels when a song calls for it, her ability to create a hushed mood and a sense of longing through pianissimo singing is especially memorable.
Here is her performance of Franz Schubert's "Ständchen" (Serenade; poetry by Ludwig Reilstab, piano accompaniment by George Fee):
The words of the second part are: "Hörst die Nachtigallen schlagen? / Ach! sie flehen dich, / Mit der Töne süßen Klagen / Flehen sie für mich. / Sie verstehn des Busens Sehnen, / Kennen Liebesschmerz, Rühren mit den Silbertönen / Jedes weiche Herz. / Laß auch dir die Brust bewegen, / Liebchen, höre mich! / Bebend harr' ich dir entgegen! / Komm, beglücke mich!" (Do you hear the calling of the nightingales? / Ah, they summon you, / With their sweet sounds / they summon you to me. / They understand the longing of the heart, / They know the pain of love, / They calm each tender heart / with their silver tones. / Let them also stir the feelings within your breast, / My beloved, hear me! / Trembling I wait for you, / Come, fill me with joy!)
Kindra Scharich will appear in the gala season-opening concert of the 2016-17 Liederabend Series of Lieder Alive! Her program will be "Lieder from the Great German Songbook, from Schubert to Strauss"; the concert will take place Sunday, October 2, at 5 pm at the Noe Valley Ministry, 1021 Sanchez Street (near 23rd) in San Francisco.