Australian Recital Tour - Sydney concert - August 2019
“Though Dupuis’ handsome lyric baritone has grown of late, he’s still able to scale it back to provide the intimacy required of French song. He brought great tenderness to Duparc’s Chanson triste, making it a short but intense emotional journey, while the same composer’s Le manoir de Rosamonde, a sinister evocation of thwarted love, was conveyed with ample vocal glamour. Simplicity of expression is Dupuis’ gift, the baritone choosing to impart meaning through subtle verbal inflection and tonal shading. The spaciousness and gentle insistence of his singing in Hahn’s L’Énamourée was one of the recital’s highlights, while Ravel’s still little-heard song cycle Trois chansons de Don Quichotte à Dulcinée allowed the baritone to demonstrate his gift for comedy, particularly in the closing drinking song.
Both singers took to the stage to give the world premiere of Kevin March’s La Noche Oscura, a duet written for them by the composer after Dupuis starred in his opera Les Feluettes. A setting of a 15th-century poem by Carmelite friar San Juan de la Cruz, it’s an enchanting depiction of a clandestine meeting of lovers, seeing Dupuis and Car sing in French and English respectively, voices weaving in and out of each other, before coming together in Spanish. A special moment, made more so by the composer’s presence.
They later returned to the stage for the duet Ah! Dite alle giovine from La Traviata, establishing the scene’s fraught dramatic context with ease. Car, who made her debut as Violetta for Opera Australia in 2018, presented the character’s torment in a voice of surpassing loveliness, while Dupuis was every bit the rueful but headstrong patriarch. Car had earlier sung a deeply felt Il ne revient pas from Gounod’s Faust, which seemed to transform anguish into exaltation, while Dupuis gave a noble account of Posa’s Per me giunto from Verdi’s Don Carlo.
Not wanting to disappoint the audience, they offered up two classy encores – Non ti scordar di me and the Waltz from Lehár’s Merry Widow. Those gathered would have kept them on for much longer if they could."