Britten: Holy Sonnets of John Donne

Bright lyric tenor Charles Blandy’s dramatic interpretations, surprisingly evocative of Britten’s life partner Peter Pears, perfectly reflected the changing emotions in the texts. Several moments showed particular drama, such as when when Blandy sang “qui-et” and the piano echoed it with two solo notes, and in the powerful ending of “Oh, My Black Soule!” with strong, repetitive tonic chords to the lines, “Oh wash thee in Christ’s blood, which hath this night That being red, it dyes red soules to white.” It left the audience stunned by the pounding intensity.

Bettina Norton, Boston Musical Intelligencer