Kelly, Holmes


St Stephen’s Church, Upper Mount Street, Dublin

Debussy – Romance. Liszt – Enfant, si j’étais Roi. Oh! Quand je dors. Meyerbeer – O beau pays. Barber – St Ite’s vision. Stravinsky – No word from Tom . . . I go to him. Mozart – Ach ich liebe. Strauss – Kling! Allerseelen. Ich wollt ein Sträußlein binden. Donizetti – O luce di quest’ anima. Bernstein – Glitter and be Gay.

The Irish soprano Katy Kelly, a graduate of the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama, is currently studying for a graduate performance diploma at the Boston Conservatory.

At Dublin’s Peppercanister Church on Sunday she presented with pianist Roy Holmes a showcase recital that ranged from Mozart to Bernstein via Donizetti, Meyerbeer, Liszt, Puccini, Debussy, Strauss, Stravinsky and Barber.

That number of varied musical voices would be a challenge to any performer, and Kelly quite simply dodged most of the issues involved by adopting a stylistically undifferentiated approach.

Her voice was clear and produced easily, though she was so happy at the louder end of the dynamic spectrum that she spent little time at the quieter end. But she did so without the sense of forced tone that has plagued so many young Irish singers over the years.

She had high notes aplenty, and considerable agility, and she was not afraid to put herself at the pin of her collar, as the inclusion of the arias by Donizetti and Bernstein makes clear.

The limitations on her delivery were ones of control and accuracy. Her handling of fioritura was hit and miss, so that some of the more spectacular passages she sang were like fireworks that didn’t completely explode. And her failure to convey words with any vividness limited her ability to compensate through thorough communication of character and situation.

Taken as a whole, the evening presented an impression of a singer who hasn’t yet worked out where her strengths and weaknesses lie, and is not yet adept at bringing out the former and downplaying the latter.

Her best suit on Sunday was actually in one of the most demanding arias, O luce di quest’ animafrom Donizetti’s Linda di Chamounix.

The intonation may not have been consistently spot on, but there was a lightness and charm in the singing which suggested a kind of potential that elsewhere was hardly even hinted at.