Händel’s Messiah • New Amsterdam Opera • Riverside Church • December 1 2018

Tenor Aaron Blake, dashing in his tux, looks like a character from an Edith Wharton novel. Clean, solid and strong voice. When I met him in person, he was soft-spoken and beaming. Onstage, at least in this concert, he comes across as much more stern and resolutely masculine. That is, he has understood the difference.  Soprano Holly Flack is someone to look out for. Radiant, perfect inner stillness, strong technique, a voice that will last. Gorgeous smile, her coloratura effortlessly floating on air. A mix of humility and grace, with some spice and spite. The organist struggled to red her notes – there was not enough light but it appeared that she needed better reading glasses. She gave me an impression of someone who was not sitting behind and organ but a stove, trying to cook a meal and struggling with a recipe. The upright bass player, Dara Bloom, lovely to watch as she leaned into her instrument like a dance partner.