Everyone loves Jessye Norman. Well, almost everyone.
She has enjoyed an extraordinarily successful career spanning opera, concert and academia, not to mention a sadly unrevealing autobiography. And there she was at Carnegie, in all her smiling-radiance glory on Saturday–not incidentally, Valentine’s Day. The devout who packed the hall found every hemidemisemiquaver cause for ecstasy.
Now 69 and still glamourous, if not exactly spry, the diva preened, crooned, swooped, sighed, whispered, shouted, beamed, moaned, simpered and, yes, occasionally sang her wayward way through more than two hours of poppish songs bearing the catch-all, «Hooray for Love». She made much of prima-donna poses, both vocal and physical, adding new meaning to the old concept of «Sprechgesang».
She was gallantly accompanied at the keyboard by Mark Markham, periodically assisted by Colin Davin playing the guitar or mandolin. Ron Carter won special plaudits sporadically manning the double-bass.