This is probably brief enough in essence just to be Tweeted, but I think it deserves a larger font size, if nothing else. I've been spending today in a rather autumnal way, which is to say curled up with a nice detective novel and the wireless for company. At one point in the afternoon I drifted off; and when I drifted back in, it was to the accompaniment of some glorious voice — I knew not whose — singing songs of Richard Strauss. There's always something particularly beautiful about music one wakes up to in this way. I was enchanted. And I couldn't figure out for the life of me who it was. I ran through the usual suspects — various voices I know and love — but none of them fitted. Finally we came back to Mairi Nicolson, and I waited to learn which obvious superstar I'd failed to recognise.
The answer? Our very own Helen Sherman. Whom I last saw in the finals of the McDonald's Aria, where she came second to David Corcoran. So, neither obvious nor a superstar, but on the basis of this recital that seems to be the path she's headed down. Her Strauss was gorgeous, and the Grainger songs which followed similarly lovely. I only wish I'd been awake for the Duparc she opened with.
I wish I had a nice YouTube link with which to illustrate all of this, but there ain't one. However her biography at the Young Concert Artists Trust provides a nice overview of everything she has going, and also includes a clip of a pretty fantastic "Parto, parto", which I'm listening to as I type. Helen does also have a website, but it's in Coming Soon condition at present. But I suspect I'll be keeping an eye on it, and on her.