Clare
Wilkinson

Mezzo-soprano

Reviews

Editor's Choice. 'These are impressive interpretations... Clare Wilkinson turns in perhaps the finest performances I can remember from her in this repertory.'

Gramophone, September 2014
Adoramus te CD, Rose Consort of Viols

'Clare Wilkinson's singing is a particular delight. Her sensitive phrasing and dynamics, her use of some subtle but colourful vibrato and her perfect intonation enable her to blend impeccably with the viols when she wishes; it is hard to imagine Byrd's consort song "With lilies white" receiving a finer performance than it does here, for instance. Clare also imbues her vocal lines with character and life by exploiting the different tone colours of her voice, so that her upper register is at times brilliant or ethereal, whilst her middle and lower registers can be pure and clear or dark and intense, lyric contrasts that are too seldom exploited by "early music" singers. This is a disk that amply repays repeated listening, allowing the listener to discover more variety, and delight more in the understated delicacy of the phrasing of singing and playing on each hearing.'

The Viol, Summer 2014
Adoramus te CD, Rose Consort of Viols

'...another fine recording from the same musical partnership that brought us "Four Gentlemen of the Chapel Royal" ...there are no better executants than Clare and the Rose Consort: such is their rapport with one another and their empathy with the music, one can gain further insights into this endlessly enthralling music through their interpretations. The programme and performances on this disk are superb... it remains merely to recommend this disk unreservedly, to applaud the participants, and to hope for more of the same.'

Early Music Review, June 2014
Adoramus te CD, Rose Consort of Viols

'...Clare Wilkinson, whose distinctive alto, straightforward in expression and tellingly connected to her speaking voice, lends fragility to Von den Stricken. Her desolate, almost whispered 'Die Trauernacht' in Es ist vollbracht! also stabs to the heart.'

Gramophone, March 2013
John Passion CD, Dunedin Consort

'Viadana’s O dulcissima Maria for solo soprano is performed with exquisite, piercing sweetness and dexterous agility by Clare Wilkinson...'

Opera Today, 10 Nov 2012
1612 Italian Vespers CD

'In this first-rate concert, two performances stood out: Monteverdi’s ‘Salve regina’ thrillingly sung by tenors Nicholas Hurndall Smith and Matthew Long, and Clare Wilkinson’s rendering of Viadana’s ‘O dulcissima Maria’, exquisitely intimate, yet with every word carrying to the skies.'

Independent, 23 Aug 2012
BBC Proms, I Fagiolini, Royal Albert Hall

' delicious....'

Telegraph, May 2012
Bach Cantatas, Dunedin Consort/John Butt, St John's, Smith Square

‘Clare Wilkinson's clean, pure delivery marks her out as one of the best young singers in the Renaissance game...’

Independent, Dec 2011
‘The Year’s Midnight’ with Fretwork at King’s Place

‘Peter Harvey’s bass and Clare Wilkinson’s mezzo shine out...’

Sunday Times, Sep 2011
Welt, gute Nacht CD, John Eliot Gardiner

‘...the gorgeously warm voice of Clare Wilkinson...’

Early Music America, Nov 2010
Byrd Gradualia CD, Michael Noone/Robert Quinney

‘Her two arias are excellent vehicles for the alto to demonstrate her attractively creamy and flexible timbre.’

Music Web International, May 2010
St Mark Passion CD, Kölner Akademie/Willens

‘The CD starts out with Ockeghem’s D’un aultre amer, sung with chilling emotion by Clare Wilkinson... Wilkinson’s tone and phrasing are flawless, and she brings a deeply heartfelt quality to the song... There are also three heartbreakingly beautiful solo vocal pieces on the agonies of love... They offer three more opportunities to hear the heavenly Wilkinson sing her heart out.’

Early Music America, Dec 2008
Josquin chansons with Andrew Lawrence-King

‘Clare Wilkinson’s pure mezzo voice emerges from the mists of time in the opening antiphon by Tallis, sustaining and beautifully articulating the text. In Byrd’s Plorans ploravit she almost weeps; in Tye’s I lift my heart to thee she seems effortlessly to convey the long, arching phrases. There are magical moments of antiphony between voice and viols... but in Tallis’ penitential seven-part Suscipe quaeso the dialogue is elevated to the profound.’

Gramophone, September 2008
Four Gentlemen of the Chapel Royal CD, Rose Consort of Viols

‘Performances of stunning conviction... are what set this disk apart... Clare Wilkinson beckons Part Two of the Passion into existence with the most exquisitely introduced Ach, nun ist mein Jesus hin...’

Classic FM Magazine, Mar 2008
St Matthew Passion CD, Dunedin Consort/John Butt

'(John Butt) has a superb contralto in Clare Wilkinson, whose heart-stopping delivery of the words "And ye shall find rest unto your souls," sets the tone for the whole performance.'

The Guardian, Dec 2006
Messiah CD, Dunedin Consort/John Butt

'..."O dulcissima Maria", sung exquisitely by Clare Wilkinson.'

bachtrack.com, 24 Aug 2012
BBC Proms, I Fagiolini, Royal Albert Hall

‘highly communicative and expressive...’

bachtrack.com, Jan 2012
Bach Cantatas, Dunedin Consort/John Butt, Queen’s Hall Edinburgh

‘The soloists were a key part of (Egarr’s) vision... Most beautiful of all was Clare Wilkinson whose soft, thoughtful mezzo was wonderfully responsive to the spirit of the text as well as the music.’

MusicWeb International, Dec 2011
Christmas Oratorio, SCO/Richard Egarr, Queen’s Hall Edinburgh

‘Although at times the massed sound of all those on stage felt like it would take the Queen’s Hall roof off, the intimacy of the piece was beautifully set up by the quartet of soloists... mezzo Clare Wilkinson brought a light but lustrous beauty to her generous share of the arias.’

Scotsman, Dec 2011
Christmas Oratorio, SCO/Richard Egarr, Queen’s Hall Edinburgh

‘... the atmosphere rather suits a gloomy autumn day, with its dark colours... presented gorgeously... The best-known piece, Ach, dass ich Wassers gnug hätte in meinem Haupte, has appeared on a number of compilation albums over the last few years, sung by renowned soloists. But not one of them sings it as movingly as Clare Wilkinson.’

‘... insgesamt passt die Stimmung eher zu einem trüben Herbsttag, mit ihren dunklen Farben... hinreißend präsentiert... Das wohl bekannteste Stück, "Ach, dass ich Wassers gnug hätte in meinem Haupte", ist in den letzten Jahren auf einigen Arien-Alben berühmter Solistinnen aufgetaucht. Aber keine hat es so ergreifend gesungen wie Clare Wilkinson.’

NDR.de, Oct 2011
Welt, gute Nacht CD, John Eliot Gardiner

‘Clare Wilkinson penetrated to the heart of this music - with an obvious joy in performing which showed itself in gesture and expression.'

'Clare Wilkinson dringt intensiv in die Musik ein – und zwar mit einer Ausdrucksfreude, die sich in Gestik und Mimik spiegelt.'

RP Online, Oct 2011
Fretwork ‘New Wine in Old Bottles’ concert, Düsseldorf

‘En niet te vergeten de viool in het Erbarme dich dat Clare Wilkinson zong. Dit duet was een kippenvelmoment. Hij speelde, zij zong, en samen waren zij de kwetsbaarheid zelve en was er troost voor de angst van iedere sterveling. De Mattheuspassie bewees maar weer eens haar catharsis-functie.’

‘And not to forget: the violin solo in Erbarme dich sung by Clare Wilkinson. This duet was a ‘goosebump moment’. He played, she sang, and together they were Vulnerability itself, and there was comfort for the fear of every mortal human being. The Matthew Passion proved its catharsis function once again.’

Greet van ‘t Veld, knack.be, Apr 2011
Matthew Passion, Bozar Brussels, with Bart Van Reyn/Octopus

‘Clare Wilkinson’s porcelain-clear, honey-toned voice wove lithely among the chamber music-like intimacy of the viols, shifting between vibrato-free purity and voluptuous opening out; this was one of those rare evenings from which one departs walking on air, delighted and somehow spiritually purified.’

‘Clare Wilkinson fügte sich mit ihrer porzellanfarbenen Balsamstimme geschmeidig in die kammermusikalische Intimität der Gamben ein und changierte zwischen vibratoloser Reinheit und sinnlichem Erblühen: einer von den seltenen Abenden, nach denen man beglückt und irgendwie seelisch gereinigt von dannen schwebt.’ 

Hamburger Abendblatt, Dec 2009
Concert with Fretwork at NDR studios, Hamburg

‘Ein Mezzosopran zum Niederknien - Clare Wilkinson, eine der klangschönsten Mezzosopranistinnen unserer Zeit.’

‘A voice to kneel before - Clare Wilkinson, one of the most beautiful mezzo voices of our time.’

Hamburger Abendblatt, Dec 2009
Preview of concert with Fretwork at NDR studios, Hamburg

‘A real treat... she never fails to move her audience.’

Ynet news, Jun 2009
Purcell songs with Fretwork at the Israel Festival

‘At the heart of the second cantata of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio is the Nativity, and at the heart of the Nativity is the Angel’s heaven-sent lullaby over the manger. Clare Wilkinson sang this with humbling simplicity, accentuating the miraculous sustaining notes that fall like benedictions over the Virgin’s boy child.’

Independent, Dec 2008
Christmas Oratorio, John Eliot Gardiner

‘...sung with beguiling simplicity by Clare Wilkinson...’

BBC Music Magazine, Sep 2008
Flaming Heart with I Fagiolini

‘The Rose Consort of Viols, one of the longest-running and most widely recorded of the English viol ensembles, is accompanied by the excellent mezzo-soprano Clare Wilkinson... Throughout, Wilkinson sings with her customary clarity of diction and ability to bring out nuances in the text without seeming mannered...'

International Record Review, Aug 2008
Four Gentlemen of the Chapel Royal CD, Rose Consort of Viols

‘Clare Wilkinson’s personification of Music has a magical quality which leaves no room for doubt that her art does indeed have the power to inspire and reflect all human emotions.’

Early Music, May 2008
Flaming Heart CD, I Fagiolini

‘Clare Wilkinson’s account of Erbarme dich is beautifully coloured.’

The Guardian, Mar 2008
St Matthew Passion CD, Dunedin Consort/John Butt

‘The freshness of other soloists is deeply affecting... Clare Wilkinson partners two flutes to perfection in Buß und Reu.’

BBC Music Magazine, Mar 2008
St Matthew Passion CD, Dunedin Consort/John Butt

‘The questing Clare Wilkinson carries on her form from Messiah with a heartfelt Erbarme dich.’

Gramophone, Mar 2008
St Matthew Passion CD, Dunedin Consort/John Butt

‘I was greatly impressed by both the quality of her voice and by her eloquent delivery... each time I hear her, her poise, musicianship and beautiful sound have impressed me more and more.’

Opera Now, Dec 2007
‘Who’s Hot’ listing

'Clare Wilkinson's He was Despised is most moving...'

Gramophone, Dec 2006
Messiah CD, Dunedin Consort/John Butt

‘An absolute high point is alto Clare Wilkinson. Her warm and radiant voice floats wonderfully over the orchestra in the aria ‘He shall feed his flock’. She outshines all the other soloists and marks the clear musical highlight.’

‘Absoluter Lichtblick ist die Altistin Clare Wilkinson. Ihr warmer, strahlender Alt schwebt in der Arie ‘He shall feed his flock’ wunderbar über dem Orchester. Sie übertrumpft damit alle anderen Solisten und setzt so das eindeutige musikalische Highlight.’

klassik.com, Dec 2006
Messiah CD, Dunedin Consort/John Butt

'Clare Wilkinson (mezzo-soprano) proved an excellent soloist... with her fine vocal delivery and pleasing personality...'

The Herald, Nov 2006
'The Vivaldi Experience' with Devon Baroque

‘... A La Cazza, a celebration of the joys of hunting. Not my sentiments exactly, but mezzo-soprano Clare Wilkinson’s singing was so beautifully seductive that I soon ditched my principles. The voice - full, rich and projected with a seemingly effortless purity of tone - was one to die for, with the refined and exquisite coupling of a Kyrie and the dream-like qualities of Columba Senza Fielle needing a government health warning.’

Yorkshire Evening Press, Jul 2005
York Early Music Festival, Musica Antiqua of London

‘... a powerful and even tone across her wide range, with breath control which left me gasping.’

Early Music Today, Jul 2004
London Handel Competition final

‘... a highly sensitive exponent of this repertoire, and clearly at ease with the style. Her voice is pliant and subtly expressive, her diction excellent.’

BBC Music Magazine, Aug 2003
A Songbook for Isabella CD, Musica Antiqua of London

‘Clare Wilkinson is equally adept at lightness of touch and expressive despair...’

Early Music News, Jun 2003
A Songbook for Isabella CD, Musica Antiqua of London

 

© Clare Wilkinson 2014
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Photography: Stefan Schweiger
and Marco Borggreve

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