Deirdre Lobo D'cunha (soprano) and Nadine Crasto (piano) in Mumbai - June 2016 at the Russian Centre for Science & Culture

Move – over: the return of an Indian diva

Already a stellar performer, Deirdre Lobo D’Cunha is well on her way to making her career. She already runs a vocal course operating out of San Francisco which includes Skype lessons in India. She has worked regularly in master classes both in Pune and Mumbai. But above all she is gifted with a magnificent and unique vocal instrument, its quality and a timbre quite unique. It is possible that she will develop in to a fuller and bigger sound to fill the largest opera stages round the world. On the strength of this recital she is already accomplished in lieder and oratorio. As evinced by her Messiah solo He shall Feed his Flock which had a great lyrical feel not least because she sang in her own language. The opening Pie Jesu from Fauré Requiem which was the least successful of the concert allowing for some tentativeness. By the time she reached the Magnificat solo Quia Respexit, her voice was in full bloom.

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Mozart’s last Concert Aria Vado, ma dove was also a great success. It was originally written for orchestra for interpolation into an opera by Martin, a practice common in those days. These are all beautiful gems but sadly not programmed sufficiently these days. Kudos to Deirdre for this  K. 583. Ch’io mi scordi di te now please!

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Her second half, though shorter, carried the day as it was formidable. Going from strength to strength in lieder art song and romance. The Io son I’umile ancella was interpolated including a beautiful head voice for the high notes. Outstanding I should say was the two Schumann lieder Mondnacht and Widmung. Not least because Nadine Crasto excelled herself specially in Widmung. For me the weakest were the Opera arias in the first half specially Porgi amor from the Marriage of Figaro taken at a fast clip lacked the required breath-control. Morro, ma prima in grazia lacked the lirico-spinto quality so necessary for late Verdi. Quite rightly she eschews Puccini because the squillo has yet to develop fully. For me the icing on the cake was the Rachmaninov Spring Waters in which she and Nadine both became uncorked. It was uplifting as well as ebulliant in a way that did nothing to show that this was a very recent addition to Deirdre’s repertoire. She learnt it albeit not from memory in two weeks flat in the Russian language! The evening was kindly sponsored by the Russian Centre for Science and Culture and Furtados.

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A word about Deirdre’s mother Celia Lobo, the legendary Indian diva of her day who had achieved internationally recognised appearances in full productions of Grand opera by the BMSO starring in Tosca, Lucia and Rigoletto. The last was with Luigi Infantino (also legendary for his appearances with Callas) as the Duke of Mantua here in Mumbai. Deirdre’s voice encompesses two octaves with a wholly unique voice quality coming closest to Measha Bruggergosman. All hail to another Indian super-star in the making notwithstanding Patricia Rozario OBE. The Indo-Anglian soprano who has achieved worldwide fame and excellence.

We hope that Deirdre Lobo D’Cunha becomes a permanent fixture of Mumbai with perhaps an opera stage debut. Is the Royal Opera House in South Mumbai listening?