NICK returns to the oregon Bach Festival for Bach's mass in b minor, magnificat & a recital of Britten & schubert
THE REGISTER-GUARD (Bach's B minor Mass)
"The soloists also fit Halls’ vision of Bach’s sound...One of the highlights of the evening was the duet between Amanda Forsythe’s attractive soprano and Nicholas Phan’s sweet tenor in “Domine Deus,” what John Eliot Gardner has called a 'spiritual love duet.'..."
THE REGISTER-GUARD (An Evening with Nicholas Phan)
"The Oregon Bach Festival continued Friday evening with the much-anticipated solo concert of tenor Nicholas Phan. Phan, a well-established contributor to Eugene’s celebrated festival, sang works by Benjamin Britten and Franz Schubert. The theme of the night was friendship and family — specifically how, in Phan’s words, “family inspires great art.”
The concert opened with a brief set of folk songs, set by Britten. The opening song, “Come You Not from Newcastle,” was earnest, introducing omnipresent themes of love. Phan, in this brief and simple ditty, quickly displayed his technical versatility with skilled dynamic shifts and a wide variety of colors in his rich timbre. His charm increased throughout the set, finishing with a cheeky rendition of “The Plough Boy.”
This set was followed by Britten’s “First Canticle: My Beloved is Mine and I am His.” Phan was at once delicate and powerful, perfectly in touch with pianist David Riley’s passionate melodic swells.
From Britten, Phan moved to Schubert with three sets of song. The first and last were all linked by motives of spring. Phan’s sensitivity to the English texts set by Britten were exceeded by the clarity and masterful treatment of diction in the German lyrics. Highlights included “Im Frühling,” with Phan’s soft high notes and tasteful rubato, and “Ganymed,” where Riley’s playing perfectly captured the sounds of wind rustling...his impressive depth of tone in his forte was well showcased in “Auf dem Strom,” for which he was joined by Erin Cooper Gay on horn. Gay’s incredibly pure tone sang sweetly through Beall Hall, and quite often my breath caught in suspense during her seemingly languid shifts from piano to forte and back.
The true highlight of the evening, however, was Britten’s “Canticle III: Still Falls the Rain.”
Gay’s astounding dynamic control was again on display here, supplementing a haunting and riveting performance by Phan and Riley. The high vocal lines, often unaccompanied, are mesmerizing in their oscillation and subtle diversions. The bicenium section between Gay and Phan was executed with amazing communication, allowing for a seamless weaving of the two obligato voices.
The performance closed with a longer set of folk songs. Some were charming and funny — such as “Lord! I Married Me a Wife,” which was performed with tangible exasperation and delightful comedic timing. Others, like “The Last Rose of Summer,” were heartbreakingly lovely...the audience appreciated the concert enormously. Phan and Riley received well-deserved ovation, resulting in an encore performance of “Black is the Colour.”
Eugene has been lucky to have Phan return so often during the Bach festivals, and hopefully he will continue to grace our halls in coming years."
THE REGISTER-GUARD (Bach's Magnificat)
"TThe soloists, too, proved excellent...both tenor Nicholas Phan and baritone Jason Steigerwalt brought strength and conviction to their respective arias."