Here’s an opera-singer-goes-off-piste CD that’s unusually rewarding. Mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey and jazz pianist Baptiste Trotignan form a fruitful partnership for a programme centred on Kurt Weill writing from both sides of the Atlantic. Lindsey’s assimilation of the style sounds near effortless, and only occasionally does she give the feeling she has anything to prove. The first song, Nanna’s Lied, has her voice turning on a sixpence from Weimar drawl to a Lieder-singer’s poise and back again.
Their central premise is originality and vigour. … While many other modern Weill adaptations are jazzy or academic, "Thousands of Miles" presents a unique and novel form of musical language that goes far beyond a simple fusion of jazz and classical. Here, the whole is more than the sum of its parts.
This is much more than just another Kurt Weill collection... [and is] one of the most compelling and striking song discs to have appeared for quite a while. Kate Lindsey perfectly captures the downtrodden but defiant spirit of Weill’s heroines, carefully deploying irony when called for, but taking the sort of care over tone and text that one would normally associate with high-end Schubert performances. Some of the songs – like ‘Trouble Man’ from the musical Lost in the Stars – are truly harrowing, while others, such as ‘Big Mole’ from the same show, bristle with quick-fire humour and dazzling technique.
This is a striking vocal instrument that is not just destined for great things but already accomplishing them. As an imaginative combination not just of repertoire but of artists, too, it’s well-nigh unbeatable, an astonishing tribute to a golden era of song, and an artistic triumph.
The American mezzo Kate Lindsey bucks the trend on her new recital for Alpha Classics, increasingly the go-to label for exciting projects with intelligent young artists. She unleashes a chesty alto register on the opening Brecht number, Nanna’s Lied, while her ripe delivery of Denn wie man sich bettet, so liegt man, from Brecht and Weill’s Mahagonny, has shades of Dietrich herself. Lindsey never sounds as if she’s dragging her voice anywhere it doesn’t want to go. She is incisive with text, in German and English alike, and on one Weill number written for the cabaret star Lys Gauty, Je ne t’aime pas, her French is just as impeccable.