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"One of the most beautiful young lyric voices around"

- opera news

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LATEST NEWS


"One of the most beautiful young lyric voices around"

- opera news

latest news

NICK HOSTS 'CLASSICAL UP CLOSE' AT WNYC / WQXR

Behind some of the most beautiful French songs ever written is the story of a broken marriage, sexual confusion, and an alcohol-and-drug-infused romp across Europe.

You’re invited to explore some of the most colorful characters of Paris’s La Belle Epoque in a special night of poetry and music in The Greene Space. Tenor Nicholas Phan and pianist Myra Huang lead this literary and musical journey, recounting the story of writer Paul Verlaine and his much younger lover, Arthur Rimbaud, the era’s quintessential enfant terrible.

David Ebershoff, author of the novel The Danish Girl (made into an Oscar-winning film), will read selections from Rimbaud’s poetry as well as correspondence between Verlaine and Rimbaud, bringing their story to life.

You’ll hear about their scandalous affair, the poetry it inspired and how the songs of Claude DebussyReynaldo Hahn and Gabriel Faure helped bring those poems to the elite salons of Paris and beyond.

NICK PERFORMS SONG CYCLES BY BRITTEN & FINZI WITH L'ORCHESTRE D'AUVERGNE in France

"Certes « la voix n'a pas à briller, mais à toucher » mais puisque Nicholas Phan offre les deux… Le ténor américain, charismatique, n'est pas loin d'être ce qui se fait de mieux au monde dans cette musique qui exige d'avoir une corde vocale à Bayreuth, l'autre à Broadway. Une voix d'une grande expressivité qui s'appuie sur la virtuosité utile et la sonorité riche du corniste Hugues Viallon.

Un véritable plaisir et une poésie en compagnie du ténor qui se prolongent avec la beauté évidente de Farewell to arms de Gérald Finzi..."

("Certainly " the voice does not have to shine, but to touch " but since Nicholas Phan offers both... the American Tenor, charismatic, is not far from being the best in the world in this music that requires one to have one vocal cord in Bayreuth, the other on Broadway. A voice of great expressiveness, which is blends with virtuosity and the rich sound of Horn player Hugues Viallon.

A real pleasure and a poetry in the company of the tenor was prolonged with the evident beauty of Farewell to Arms by Gerald Finzi.")

   - La Montagne

ILLUMINATIONS RELEASED TO RAVE REVIEWS 

"Nicholas Phan’s previous releases have shown him to be not only a fine singer but a fine programmer, too. His latest album continues the trend and juxtaposes three works – two to texts by Verlaine, one to a text by Rimbaud – that provide an unalloyed hour of pleasure. 

He is joined in the first two works by his regular accompanist, Myra Huang, who plays with a lovely mixture of sensitivity and delicacy – listen to her at the opening of Debussy’s ‘C’est l’extase langoureuse’, for example, or the start of Fauré’s ‘Avant que tu ne t’en ailles’. The Telegraph Quartet fill out the textures of the Fauré beautifully, too. 

Phan’s own interpretations set the tone. Here’s a singer who puts music and words first, without ever resorting to the self-regard that surely must be a temptation in music as seductive as this...he sings with intelligence, sensitivity and poise, not to mention an appealing gentleness and patience... 

After two French composers, the work that gives the disc its title showcases the young Benjamin Britten in Francophone mode. The brilliance of Les illuminations rarely fails to come across...Phan’s account with The Knights...is highly persuasive and difficult to resist. The tenor’s virtues pay dividends here and the playing of the orchestra is beautifully alive and alert, with some excellent solo work. With detailed and clear sound, this is a recital that can be safely recommended."

     - Gramophone

BEST NEW RECORDINGS OF 2018 (SO FAR)

"Tenor Nicholas Phan’s sultry and refined singing coheres this cleverly-constructed program of works inspired by the sensuous poetry of Verlaine and Rimbaud."     - WQXR

DISC OF THE WEEK, MAY 12, 2018

      - CBC Radio 2 Saturday Afternoon at the Opera 

WQXR BEST NEW CLASSICAL RELEASES APRIL 2018

"Phan’s singing is both sultry and refined, accentuated by the equally subtle playing of his collaborators, pianist Myra Huang, the Telegraph Quartet and Brooklyn-based orchestra The Knights."       

      - WQXR

PRESTO EDITOR'S CHOICE APRIL 2018

"[Phan] brings an astounding range of colours and textures to bear on poetry which he clearly loves and knows inside-out. The Knights suit the action to the word, too, in a reading of Les Illuminations which brings Rimbaud’s ‘parade sauvage’ to vivid, unsettling life."   

    - Presto Classical

"his singing is impeccably correct"  

     - The Guardian

San Francisco CLASSICAL VOICE REVIEWS NICK'S HERBST THEATER RECITAL WITH MYRA HUANG

"Tenor Nicholas Phan appropriated the title of a Gabriel Fauré cycle, La bonne chanson, to title his April 12 San Francisco Performances recital of French Belle Époque songs at the Herbst Theatre. It was more than a convenient way to label this evening of 'good song.'

In setting a series of Paul Verlaine poems about a turbulent love affair, Fauré tapped his own passion for a soprano, Emma Bardac, who would later marry Claude Debussy, himself represented on this program by his Ariettes oubliées (Forgotten songs). The two composers, who may never have actually met, were inextricably linked by love.

Never mind the veneer of Parisian sophistication that clings to the Belle Époque. The instability and charge of erotic longing and ecstasy were the life blood coursing through the program’s songs. In the Debussy cycle, Verlaine texts furnished forth an even more feverish portrait of love’s transporting torments than Fauré produced. By the time Phan reached the last of Debussy’s decidedly unforgettable songs, the listener was fully immersed. “Around were all the roses red/The ivy all around was black,' went the foreboding first lines.

That’s not to suggest this fine, all-French program was a plunge into the abyss. Whether in the jaunty “Gallant Parties” of the salon composer Reynaldo Hahn, a fleet account of Lili Boulanger’s “Two Columbines” or the droll curiosities of Erik Satie’s Ludions (Bottle imps) Phan and his sensitive accompanist Myra Huang found plenty of ways to vary the musical temperature in the room.

More importantly, it was Phan’s interpretive authority and finesse that gave the evening its shaded colors, nuance, and overall dramatic presence. Again and again he delivered a sense of present-tense musical meaning to the lines.

It happened early on, in a trio of Hahn’s songs. No sooner had he given the Mozartean poise of “To Chloris” a composed elegance than his voice took on a loopy comic lilt in the subsequent “Parties.”

In the Debussy cycle, the peak achievement of the evening, Phan displayed both his range and attention to detail to especially gratifying effect. In “Wooden Horses,” he and Huang, took on its high-spirited rhythms and repeated lines as a kind of patter song, only to open out into a wistful, near-Proustian remembrance of childhood past at the end. “It is ecstasy” took on a languorous lushness in the singer’s amber tone and intimate, confiding phrases.

Sometimes a single line got a dense, emotional reading, as in the rise and fall of emphasis he brought to the lamenting doves in Debussy’s “The Shadow of the Trees in the Misty River.” His voice went hauntingly pallid at the end: “Your hopes that are drowned.” Over a gently percolating piano backdrop, the singer found a wondering puzzlement in the speaker’s search for grief’s reason in “There Is Weeping in My Heart.” The peine (pain) in that song’s final line was stretched into a two-syllable anguish.

Phan, a San Francisco Performances Vocal Artist-in-Residence, had a serene but focused bearing onstage. His gestures were minimal on Thursday. His gaze often conveyed a sense of distant, keenly remembered things.

His voice, dense and complex at the lower end, pleased without being conventionally pretty. High notes came at times with a vaulting effort that felt like genuine, agitated discourse. Through 31 songs, his command of the lyrics and diction never faltered...

Huang was an ideal partner, by turns self-effacing and assertive and always responsive to both the singer and the song. She was perhaps most impressive in her modest moments, like the invitingly unassuming opening to Fauré’s “A Saint Within Her Halo” or the gently arpeggiated light of the subsequent “Since Day is Breaking.”

Phan told the audience how grateful he was for his artist-in-residence duties. The feeling from the audience was mutual. For this admirable program of both the known and the less familiar figures of the Belle Époque, he and Huang received a deserved shower of applause and huzzahs from the crowd."

    - San Francisco Classical Voice

GODS & MONSTERS IS NOMINATED FOR A 2017 GRAMMY AWARD FOR BEST CLASSICAL SOLO VOCAL ALBUM

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UPCOMING DATES


"A star in the making...exquisitely artful"

THe Sunday TImes (London)

UPCOMING DATES


"A star in the making...exquisitely artful"

THe Sunday TImes (London)

UPCOMING APPEARANCES

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SOCIAL MEDIA


"A Bright, confident tenor"

- The FInancial Times

SOCIAL MEDIA


"A Bright, confident tenor"

- The FInancial Times

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