What a treat it is to discover a brand-new shiny singer. Recently, I had an opportunity to hear tenor Christopher Eaglin in a "drawing room concert" the old fashioned kind, before a small but appreciative audience. I first heard Eaglin a year ago, and how his gleaming tenor voice has matured.
He presented a program of songs and arias, beginning with a group of Italian songs by Vincenzo Bellini, and ended that group with "Questa o quella," the Duke of Mantua's aria from "Rigoletto," My favorite has always been "Vaga luna," a sweet, gentle serenade.He then offered a French songs, by the elusive Henri Duparc, and Pelleas' "Tower Aria" from Debussy's "Pelleas et Melisande." Again, the luscious "Phydile" was a highlight for me. The final group consisted of deeply moving songs with texts by Langston Hughes, and ended with the spiritual, "Deep River."
Eaglin is tall and very good-looking, assets to be sure, but the voice and the singing is what's important here. He himself says he has a way to go, but he has a goal, and it is a valid and possible one. Well on the way to being a "spinto tenor," a voice which eventually, at full maturity, can look at the bigger Verdi roles, and just maybe the "young" Wagners (if he decides to go in that direction) but right now, it was enough just to bask in the voice, enjoy the musicianship, the lyricism and the authoritative presence.
The pianist was Djordje Nesic, and his playing went far further than just accompanying. The instrumental parts of these songs are in their way just as important as the vocal line, especially in the French songs. He was sensitive and quietly virtuosic.
Christopher Eaglin has a very bright future. Keep your eyes and ear well open.