Every significant artist since time began has something of the anarchist. Imitation of what others have already said is only craft. Art is the single-minded crystallization of a wholly personal vision, answerably only to its own sense of relevance. This is true equally of the executant as the creator.
Success usually spoils. It has not harmed Netania Davrath, the Israeli lyric soprano, who sang again in Bulawayo last night after a year of overseas triumphs.
It has given her the confidence to make her points with unflinching sureness, so that even when occasionally one disagrees with what she does, one has to acknowledge the authoritative weight of a real artist in action.
Her range is wide. The first two antique arias (by Stradella and Monteverdi) were informed by a gravely tragic amplitude that somehow never stretched the bounds of stylistic propriety.
I sensed here a profound tragic sensibility, and it was doubly disappointing later that she chose to interpret Ravel’s Kaddish (prayer for the dead) in a ritualistic, depersonalized way. This was the only point at which Miss Davrath seemed less than totally committed. The folk songs were immediate, alive and timeless, and even four love songs by Chopin – tried in lesser hands – were poignant and compelling.
It was a great recital and Hennie Joubert is a fine accompaniest.