DISCOVERY: Georgia Jarman
Color-atura Her Delightful!
The latest operatic diva discovery in London this season was the American soprano Georgia Jarman. Taking on all four roles in the new Richard Jones Tales of Hoffman, she pretty much stole what was a very strong show. Perhaps this was simply because she was such a surprise! Everyone knew the production would be interesting, inventive, provocative and thought-provoking (as well as very attractive to look at). And everyone was prepared for Barry Banks to be a strong if somewhat vertically challenged Hoffman; for Christine Rice to be an appealing and luscious-voiced Nicklause; and for Clive Bayley to be brilliant (both vocally and dramatically) as all four villains. But they are all ENO regulars—very popular, known entities.
Everyone also expected that the four soprano roles would be well cast; but no one was expecting quite the level of accomplishment that Georgia Jarman showed in both her singing and acting in the roles of Stella, Olympia, Antonia and Giulietta. It’s invidious to single her out, in a sense, when everything else about the production was so spot-on, including the definitely sensitive-to-the-Donizetti-idiom, yet seriously clean and personal conducting of Antony Walker; but she really was the major discovery of this event. Watch out for her! Her coloratura is astonishingly bright and clean; the quality of the voice is very appealing; and she has a completely convincing stage presence.
You can hear her voice on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyg02nj6Ex8and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UMyrZ61EVRI and possibly most impressively at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDHyQN1-xNE&feature=relmfu if you’re curious. There’s also a short interview done for the ENO at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ol_W0mtIkn4&feature=related. Jarman will be appearing worldwide next season, and will be returning to the Met for 2012-13.