Reviews
National Business Review

From Mahler's Des Knaben Wunderhorn concert with the Sydney Symphony, Mark Wigglesworth, conductor

"From the very first song "Reveille," Randall Scarlata showed he had the ability to be both narrator and participant in a tale of a vanquished army and a brave drummer boy. He conveyed the alarm, fear and joy of the soldier, building on the music with its triumphal, hectic insistence.

The sense of drama was continued through to his final song "The Drummer Boy," telling of a young man on his way to the gallows. Here Scarlata etched his singing with an emotional wretchedness giving the song hopelessness and despair.

He took on different personas in other songs and in "Solace in Misfortune," standing arms akimbo he took on heroic demeanour, pleased with himself as he delivered his haughty farewell to his girlfriend.

In "The Sentry's Night Song" in which he sings a sentry's internal monologue, he brought lightness, harshness and a touch of whimsy, reflecting Mahler's own ambiguities in playing with emotions. His authoritative voice effortlessly conveyed the drama and the comic and his gestures and facial expressions were well judged and expressive."

The Sydney Morning Herald

From Mahler's Des Knaben Wunderhorn concert with the Sydney Symphony, Mark Wigglesworth, conductor

"Scarlata sang with a voice of subtly inflicted character, at times stripped back and stark; at other times infused with the dark and the sinister as the angel of death might sing."

Limelight Magazine

From Mahler's Des Knaben Wunderhorn concert with the Sydney Symphony, Mark Wigglesworth, conductor

"The first song, Revelge, saw Scarlata narrating a battle scene, gesturing pugnaciously with his hands and leading the audience into the action of the frontline. His high notes were impeccable while the deeper sonorities pierced through the grisly chromatic passages in the strings, the col legno adding to the spine-chilling, hostile vista. In Des Antonius von Padua Fischpredigt, in which a priest must preach to fish as his congregation is nowhere to be found, Scarlata was able to encapsulate the ironies and contradictions contained within the story, surely the same irony that bred the association of youth and death in Mahler himself. But with Mahler, no cycle can end without a return to the funereal. In Der Tambourg'sell (The Drummer Boy), Scarlata's intensely dramatic rendition of a young boy marching to the gallows had the audience on edge: whether that drummer boy is the young Gustav, some nameless military man, or humankind itself, the first half was bid Gute Nacht in a most frightful but beautiful manner.

The Philadelphia Inquirer

Performance of Handel's Messiah with Tempesta di Mare

"Randall Scarlata gave a near-ideal generalist performance, projecting the music's meaning with ingratiating tone."

Michigan Live

All Schumann program with Gilbert Kalish at the Gilmore Festival

"Scarlata's delivery and Kalish's accompaniment seemed to go down to a whisper at times, which, combined with the setting, made for some riveting and romantic moments.

Kalish played solo for Schumann's three Fantasiestucke, op. 111, which highlighted the different personalities of the composer. He captured Schumann's storminess in the first piece, a quieter introspection in the second and, in the third, a kind of mix between the chaos and peace of the others.

Zwei Balladen was a different sort of vocal performance in which the words of the two ballads were spoken rather than sung, which made it feel more like a theatrical performance piece. Scarlata told "two sort of frightening stories" while Kalish punctuated the moments appropriately. The first ballad was about a boy who dreams of his own murder and then encounters a man who kills him in the same way he dreamed. The two had a wonderful chemistry and were in sync with each other in timing and in tone, crescendos growing together at the moment the boy met his murderer and falling after the climax of the story.

While the formal costumes of the opera weren't there, the drama from the performances of the duo made this feel like a true opera. "

San Jose Mercury News

Performance of An die ferne Geliebte from Music at Menlo

"Baritone Randall Scarlata and pianist Gilbert Kalish delivered these love songs with idiomatic comfort and elegance. As a listener, it was hard not to fall into the yearning and romance of it all: Kalish's voicings were just right, bringing out the melodies that Scarlata sang with such fragrant sound. The duo was a storytelling partnership."

The Boston Musical Intelligencer

Performance of Music from Tin Pan Alley, with soprano Jennifer Aylmer, and pianist Laura Ward

"Soprano Jennifer Aylmer, baritone Randall Scarlata, and pianist Laura Ward in a program "Tin Pan Alley at the Gardner" delighted, fascinated, informed, and touched our hearts. Perhaps most surprising of all, the three transported many of us back to another time, uniquely American, to alternating states of the sublime to the ridiculous, this in a few blinks of the eye. All were absolutely top-notch. Sunday, October 3 was the threesome's third journey to the museum. Take note: they are coming back next Sunday, same place and time-1:30. If you are looking for enlightenment-that's not too strong a word- and an indescribably uplifting time, you will not want to miss next week's follow-up concert.

Fast-moving sets of five songs each were performed: "The Birth of Tin Pan Alley"; "Modern Life," which focused on the telephone in Hello My Baby (1899), another travel invention in Come Josephine in My Flying Machine (1910) and yet another in The Enchanted Train (1923); and the final set, "Home Sweet Home." I knew about ten of the twenty songs on the program, so, for me, their song selection could not have been better, presenting both the familiar and unfamiliar. Singers and pianist come with mounds upon mounds of experience. The threesome was as expert as entertaining, singing and talking through the twenty songs and a little bit of their history. For their first set, "The World of Song," they began with I Feel a Song Coming On (1935), music by Jimmy McHugh, lyrics by Dorothy Fields. Both Aylmer and Scarlata used this one as a warm-up, and then carried on with some facts about Tin Pan Alley, the kind of which you may have forgotten but always want to hear again, when and where it all started and how the place got to be called by that name. Aylmer and Scarlata also pointed out that Isabella Stewart Gardner, herself, having taken a liking to American popular song, enjoyed the early songs, ones she might well have heard in her very own Boston palace.

When composer James L. Molloy died, it was a fact that a copy of Love's Old Sweet Song (1884) could be found in every household in Great Britain. If you cannot remember this song by its title, you will certainly recognize the unforgettable melody the instant it begins. Randall Scarlata showed his love for this gem with the clearest of diction and the finest of phrasing. Another song from this set written by Noel Coward, his Mrs. Worthington (1933), drew chuckles from around the room. All three performers put just the right bounce in the rhythm. Sometimes their word delivery verged on speech: "Don't put your daughter on the stage" they chanted. I was assured that Mrs. Aylmer, soprano Jennifer's mother who was in the audience, was no stage mother like Mrs. Worthington. Counterpointed melodies in Play a Simple Melody (1914), another of Irving Berlin's hits, and a subtle, most beautiful modulation in Jerome Kern's The Land Where the Good Songs Go (1917), caused one to consider an artfulness these American popular composers brought to their songs. Singers Aylmer and Scarlata reminded us of Stephen Foster's leaving the minstrel song to explore expression in the sphere of art song. His parlor songs best known to most of us were heard in enchanted renderings of Beautiful Dreamer (1862) and Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair (1854) first sung by baritone, Scarlata and soprano Aylmer, respectively, then in duet, combining the two melodies. It might have been the most moving moment of the afternoon. Stephen Foster called his wife Jeanie though her real name was Jane. He dedicated his song to her.

You could feel and savor this love expressed in Foster's songs through the singing of Jennifer Aylmer and Randall Scarlata and in the piano accompaniment from Laura Ward. The three lifted all of the American treasures on the entertaining yet instructive program to heights they belonged."

Periódico Correo

Performance of Shakespeare Sonnets at International Cervantinos Festival

"Ensamble Redes stunned the audience with masterful execution…This production received the support of two world-famous singers, Susan Narucki, soprano, and Randall Scarlata, baritone, who displayed powerful voices, and were able to achieve consistently impressive expression of the English text. Silences and fluidity, vibrant sound, and interpretive sensitivity continually surprised the audience."