How lucky Sunshine Coast audiences are! The Coast Recital Society brought world-famous tenor Richard Margison to the Raven’s Cry Theatre in Sechelt March 17. With Kinza Tyrell, piano, the program included selections from the 17th to the 20th centuries.

Tyrell opened the Italy section chronologically with one of Domenico Scarlatti’s more than 500 piano sonatas. In solos and accompaniments, she distinguished herself with fleet fingering and a sure touch born of rock-solid technique. Her friendly manner and witty introductions greatly enhanced the concert.

Margison started with Caro mio ben by Giuseppe Giordani. This simple melody was popularized, a soggy pop version to be avoided like the plague. The original Giordani song needs sustained flowing tone and finely controlled mezza-voce (half voice).

This was a bit much to expect from anyone completing an 11th concert in 16 days. Margison was exhausted, and it showed. From there on, though, he found a second wind.

The Germany selections were all Beethoven. The stunningly beautiful song Adelaîde was a highlight. Margison himself most charmingly introduced the lesser-known Der Kuss (the kiss). For some, this was a concert favourite.

The France segment took us to intermission. Margison sang Phylide and Soupir by Henri Duparc; Tyrell played two of Debussy’s most popular Preludes.

Operatic arias concluded the concert interspersed with program music for piano by Enrique Granados and Alberto Ginastera. Margison started with Ô souverain, ô juge, ô père, from Le Cid by Jules Massenet. This was in French. Other arias were all Italian.

Except for La donna e mobile from Verdi’s Rigoletto, all also called for dramatic passion.

Margison did not disappoint here. He skillfully set up the story line before each aria, and gave thrilling deliveries of: Recondita armonia, Puccini’s Tosca; Vesti la giubba, Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci; and Nessun Dorma, from Puccini’s Turandot.

Enthusiastic applause and a standing ovation capped a most enjoyable concert.

- Allan Crane