In the role of Hero’s friend Ursula, contralto Avery Amereau stunned the audience with her rich, supple vocal tone, particularly in her lovely trio with Hipp and Traverse
Onto the most substantial work on the program, Berlioz’ Les Nuits d’été, sung by the ravishing young mezzo-soprano, Avery Amereau. Both her name and her enunciation would point to a French upbringing, though she is from Florida. Her work with the Metropolitan Opera and concert halls through Europe and America show that she is more than a “budding” star. While not a household name, she is a luminary in her own right.Ms. Amereau has a richness in those lower registers, but she was not averse to giving a freshness and at time a cautious seductive joy… Ms. Amereau’s forte was of classical balance, an aplomb which was never accentuated, but which gave what is often missing in Berlioz.Romantic as he was, Berlioz and his poet, Théophile Gautier, were not wild-eyed eccentrics. Their beauty came out of the underlying nuances. And in that, Ms. Amereau proved a sensitive artist.
The superb performance was most remarkable for the stunning presence of the lovely and amazing soloist, Avery Amereau, whom I’ve been privileged to hear sing several times and whom Crawford noted with astonishment was that most uncommon creature, a contralto—indeed, on this account she was recently profiled by the New York Times.
The slender and very attractive young mezzo-soprano Avery Amereau then appeared for the Berlioz. In his opening remarks, Maestro Crawford had spoken of his impression that this singer should be considered a contralto rather than a mezzo; how right he is! It’s a distinctive voice with a warm and very cordial lower range, and her singing of the Berlioz clearly impressed her existing admirers and won her many new ones. A few measures into the gorgeous ‘Spectre de la Rose’, everything came together for the singer and her voice positively blossomed, covering the wide range with confident beauty of tone and expression. I was a bit surprised when Ms. Amereau didn’t sink down to the lowest note of ‘Sur les lagunes’ (to which Regine Crespin so deliciously descends in her magical recording of the work) but that’s a minor detail in the face of all that we could savour in Ms. Amereau’s genuinely fascinating performance.