ABC 481 0331
“You should never judge a book by its cover is the long held saying. So it is with this debut solo disc from the abundantly gifted American mezzo soprano, Lucy Schaufer, that it should not be judged by its uniquely home-spun style cover (a photo of Schaufer as a young girl complete with bicycle, alongside her father, aka 1950’s).
On this journey from her roots (Carpentersville is the small town of her birth), Schaufer passionately puts forward new music or repertoire, much of which has not been recorded previously.
But from the very first track (Best Thing of All, from Regina), this CD reveals a wildly exciting singer and equally exciting selection of songs that is irresistible.
From Leonard Bernstein (Dream with Me, from Peter Pan) to Richard Rodgers’s grandson, Adam Guettel (Margaret The Beauty Is, from The Light in the Piazza), the material is rich, showing Schaufer excelling in this lyric-led music.
Classically trained, Schaufer points to the importance in her view of material that is “deeply embedded in the language of song and story-telling”. Small doubt that she is drawn to such songs as Bernstein’s 100 Easy Ways to Lose a Man (from Wonderful Town) or McBroom’s lyric in Martha, or Errol Flynn.
Her characterisations through song are infused with an honesty, poignancy (I Wish it So, from Blitzstein’s Juno, or Bernstein’s Greeting, from Arias and Barcarolles) and oftentimes striking wit (Dinghy Song), that brings to life these songs.
Don’t go past this disc if you can. And don’t judge it by its cover. It is a great journey by Lucy Schaufer who is an artist of immense character and colour.
CORRECTION: Apologies, date in first par should be 1960′s. Ms Schaufer has confirmed that the photo was actually 1969. (BW)