The acoustics in the Elisabeth Murdoch Hall at the Melbourne Recital Centre are rightly celebrated. The hall offers shrewd and attentive musicians a rare kind of sonic ambience. We heard two further demonstrations of this last week, when the English pianist Paul Lewis returned to MRC with two more of his Schubert recitals (six sonatas in all) – superlative playing of the greatest finesse. Lewis, who never milks anything – not a phrase nor a post-concert talk – later referred to the Murdoch as one of his favourite concert halls in the world.
Seldom, though, has a major operatic tenor appeared at MRC, which seats only 1,000 people. So it was interesting to hear the American tenor Michael Fabiano in concert on Sunday night. What would he do with this bright, revealing sound? How would he husband it? Would he overwhelm it in torrents of high Cs?