Soprano Stands Out In a Finnish Crowd

By Tim Page
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, April 30, 2005; C05

The soprano Soile Isokoski, yet another wonderful Finnish musician, made her Washington debut at the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater on Thursday night in a recital sponsored by the Vocal Arts Society.…

Although she sang in the Metropolitan Opera's revival of Halevy's "La Juive" in 2003, Isokoski is best known in the United States for her recordings, of which there have been many. She began with a Mozart set, and from the first phrase of "Ridente la calma" it was apparent that she combined a sweet and versatile tone, keen formal intelligence, warm yet proportionate lyricism and a welcome recognition that she did not have to blast to make herself heard throughout the hall.…

[Sallinen's] "Four Dream Songs" had the dramatic potency of mini-operas, especially when sung with the dark intensity that Isokoski brought to her performance.

It was Isokoski's fierce attention to the melding of words and music that made her selection of eight songs from Hugo Wolf's "Italienisches Liederbuch" so captivating.

The program closed with Wagner's "Wesendonk Lieder" … hearing this music in a less familiar context, one is taken anew by its radical beauty and originality. Isokoski's singing seemed both hypnotic and hypnotized … Marita Viitasalo was the superb accompanist -- a sensitive, thoughtful artist who never oversteps but always adds her own qualities to anything she plays.


W.A. Mozart

Ridente la calma (unknown)
Als Luise die Briefe ihres ungetreuen Liebhabers verbrannte (Baumberg)
Abendempfindung (Campe)

Ture Rangström

Den mörka blomman (Bo Bergman)

 Den mörka blomman
 Bön till natten
 Vinden och trädet
 Avskedet
 Trädet som dör

H. Wolf

From Italienisches Liederbuch (Paul Heyse)

 Auch kleine Dinge
 Man sagt mir, deine Mutter woll’    es nicht
 O wär’ dein Haus durchsichtig wie    ein Glas
 Du denkst mit einem Fädchen    mich zu fangen
 Mir ward gesagt, Du reisest in die    Ferne
 Mein Liebster hat zu Tische mich    geladen
 Wie lange schon war immer mein     Verlangen
 Ich hab’ in Penna einen Liebsten    wohnen

Aulis Sallinen

Neljä laulua unesta (Paavo Haavikko)

 Unesta tehty mies
 Kehtolaulu kuolleelle     ratsumiehelle
 On kolme unta sisäkkäin
 Ei mikään virta

R. Wagner

Wesendonk Lieder (Mathilde Wesendonk)

 Der Engel
 Stehe still!
 Im Treibhaus
 Schmerzen
 Träume