“If another singer were to insert sobs into Richard Strauss’s “Befreit,” as Melody Moore did at her New York recital debut on May 25, it might well seem vulgar. The song’s text and melody alone offer so complete a portrayal of grieving devotion that no such extramusical gesture is necessary. But Moore had already proved herself to be a performer of such honesty that could you not only forgive her the effect, but understand its naked emotionality as a manifestation of her open, uninhibited stage persona. This was in fact as moving a “Befreit” as I’ve ever heard: sobs and all, Moore delivered its pathos exactly.
The song fell right in the middle of the second half of the program; by that time I felt like I was in the company of an old friend. The trio of throat-clearers at the beginning of the program immediately revealed the special qualities of Moore’s warm, generously proportioned voice; its mezzo-like middle especially voluptuous. Puccini’s “Sole e amore,” the last of this group, emerged as a delightful jest: the composer later repurposed the tune, lock stock and barrel, as Bohème’s Act III quartet. She felt no need to ramp down her tone for Debussy’s Proses lyriques, but despite the near-operatic scale, did through justice to the four songs’ essential delicacy … One encore: Fred Rogers’s “It’s You I Like,” sung with unerring simplicity and sincerity. As I left the auditorium, I could only think: more of Moore, please.”
Fred Cohn – Opera News