A twenty-nine year old lyric baritone with a beautiful voice, handsome countenance and abundant stage presence, Edwin Crossley-Mercer is making his mark in Europe having already sung a 'sublime' Wintereise recital at the Museé d'Orsay, and the Harlequin in Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos with the Opéra de Paris.
Originally trained as a clarinetist, Crossley-Mercer sings long lines with 'the beauty and line of a wind player.' His technical resources? They are remarkable as evidenced in his excellent diction, beautiful mezza voce and full 'open throat,' three key things that were expected from great singers of the past. The only place where he seems to be uncomfortable is in singing forte at the very top, where, as my teacher would say, "the voice turns over." That said, he keeps the voice fully vibrating, which is what many recitalists neglect in the desire to be expressive. Their quasi-falsetto crooning is deplored by old-timers who believe that full even tone at every dynamic level is a feature of the Old Italian School.
The recital below of French Mélodie was recorded at the Academic Capella Saint Petersburg with Simjon Skigin at the piano in July 2010. My favorite piece? Les chemin de l'amour. A song that has been imprinted in the mind as that for a soprano, Crossley-Mercer makes it his own. (Note: May 11th, 2011: since the original video is now unavailable, I have replaced with one that features only one song from the recital.)
I look forward to hearing him in New York soon, both as a recitalist and on the operatic stage.
One last matter comes to mind from the historical part of my brain. Is Mr. Crossley-Mercer related to Ada Crossley, who studied with Mathilde Marchesi? Now that would be interesting.