Marisa Sabourin, Teaching Review
Natalka is an excellent singing teacher. My sister’s singing technique was already improved with a single one hour lesson! She really knows what she’s talking about and has some great techniques/approaches that really help the student understand what they’re supposed to be doing e.g. visualising someone behind you so you project your voice more, and for your posture. My sister really enjoys lessons with Natalka because she is laid back, fun and very helpful.
N. Pashayan, Teaching Review
I was lucky to have Natalka as my piano teacher. As an adult learner, newly starting to play piano, with limited time to practice, Natalka was fantastic in motivating and finding something positive to praise and build on it to help me improve. Her patience is second to none. She meticulously pays attention to each note, and encourages putting personal touch and playing with the dynamics. This has given me a sense of achievement and being in control. She adapts her lesson plans to meet my particular needs and interests. In handful of lessons, I observed huge progress. I can vouch that Natalka is a gifted teacher, her passion for music is contagious, and her calm and patient approach encourages learning.
Nareh Safieh-Garabedian, Performance Review (Ukrainian Art Song Concert)
Natalka’s entire repertoire was very moving, and the song ‘Tears of Hope’ was particularly powerful and she captivated the entire audience. Her vocal control was exceptionally sustained among disjunct melodic leaps, changeable dynamics, and trills throughout the song. She embodied the quietness and soft timbres of the verse, and beautifully prepared the dramatic climax towards the end.The clarity of her tone was exceptional throughout, particularly in the higher registers which were so well controlled and sustained. It was an extremely special performance as she created an intimate atmosphere in communicating the story of the songs. Natalka’s voice is truly unique and can touch the heart of any listener.
Connor Collerton, Performance Review (Berio Folk Songs, KCL Modern Music Society’s winter concert)
I Wonder as I Wonder
The first feature in this concert was an American song, originally composed by John Jacob Niles composed somewhere between 1918 and 1933, of which Berio rearranged in 1963 for a small orchestra and solo singer (originally Cathy Berbarian). The song is heavily inspired by the theme of thought and ponderance and is often described and used as a Christmas carol due to its religious inspiration. The lyrics are made even more potent by their evident inspiration from Niles’ experiences of longing for home and peace during the latter half of the First World War, of which Niles participated. Natalka captures this seamlessly with a real sense of lyricism in her soft yet distinctive tone. Particularly notable was her broad and profound higher register which clearly carries the weight of a well-developed and experienced operatic soprano’s voice. Yet, this did not overpower the sense of phrasing but, instead, added an increasingly emphatic and wishful sense of feeling and emotion to each line. Her handling of the profoundly legato nature of this piece was distinctly reflective of Nile’s own emotions and feeling when thinking of home during such a solemn period of our world history. Her tone also clearly adopted a more relaxed and lighter timbre which reflected both the more reflective nature of the piece itself, but also the culture of which Niles was a part of back in the United States in the early part of the twentieth century.
This beautiful piece has its origins from Armenia and describes the rising of the moon on a summers evening. The primary feature of this piece is the distinct play between the soloist and the flautist in the second half, sharing the spotlight in their inter-play through a heavily polyphonic texture. The piece starts slowly and very melodically in which the solo soprano holds the main solo line on her own. Natalka’s performance was yet another showcase of her control over a melody, with a steady and reserved approach to the conservation of the melodic structure throughout the quieter sections. Her astute acknowledgement of the natural climaxes of the melody made it all the more special to listen to. The piece takes two sharp Voltas, however, at the end of each ‘verse’ when the style completely changes from a slow and reflective melody to a sprightly and energetic passage. Natalka handles these changes with notable coordination with the ensemble and thus created an entirely different feeling which, even when knowing the music, was totally unexpected. This leads onto my final point, which is that the coordination between the ensemble and Natalka was indeed exceedingly well handled in what is a difficult piece to put together with any soloist and large ensemble. The tempo and stylistic changes proved to be bang on, with specific reference to the polyphony between the flautist and soloist being of very high standard. In the second round, Natalka dexterously and precisely dances around with the flute melody behind her, adding to the cheeky feeling of the tempo and stylistic change as stated before.
Rossignolet du Bois
Composed by an anonymous author in the Occitan language, this piece has had long history of prior transcriptions by a variety of different composers. The first transcription comes from Joseph Canteloube in 1938 and was included in the Nouvelle anthologie chorale 2 collection for the Editions Musicales Frédy Henry, Switzerland. It was transcribed in the tonality of G minor and arranged for three voices. However, Berio’s Arrangement only requires one voice, and is executed seamlessly by Natalka Pasicznyk. The accompaniment scoring is very light, yet incredibly random and spontaneous. Regardless of this fact, Natalka keeps a very steady melody which continues throughout the entirety of this short piece. Her pitching could not be faulted as she reached every single note without hesitance or slides which would be very much commonplace with a less experienced and well-rounded vocalist. Unlike most of the other pieces in this programme, this one of Berio’s arrangements remains relatively dynamically static, restricting exactly what the vocalist can do with their voice to a bare minimum. Yet, regardless of this, Natalka’s performance still evokes feelings likened to the surreal and the strange. The light scoring gives way and thus creates a beautifully lonely melody giving notions of separation and isolation, and this is realised within every note of which the young soprano projects as she gives meaning to this beautiful and mysterious folk song.
A La Femmenisca
A La Femmenisca is a Sicilian piece of unknown origin. It begins abruptly with a wonderous flourish from chimes which accompany the voice 0ojn the first downbeat of the piece. The piece is typical of the culture, which is reflected through its melodic mode. With a fairly simple melody, the piece is led entirely by the vocalist, with the Accompaniment supplying a steady set of both tonal atonal countermelodies. The style notably requires a different approach to most of the other pieces in this concert, and this is where Natalka displays her dexterity in stylistic approaches to her music, singing in her chest voice throughout this short exposition. Reflective of the style, and in an attempt to stay true to the musical norms of the culture, she is able to sustain a confidant and impressive line throughout the piece. Also noteworthy is the way Natalka handles range in this piece, as it is clearly written in the pitch of an Alto rather than soprano. Regardless, as previously stated, the line was sustained soundly throughout the entire piece, despite its low register, with the young soprano showing her ability to utilise that internal support to create an equal amount of projection for both the higher and the lower registers, being able to hear all of the notes in the melody regardless of the strong ‘forte’ accompaniment behind her.
Mottetu de Tristura
This piece is the most eerie and peculiar of all the works in Berio’s set of Folk Songs. The main feature of this song is that of the incredibly slow and potent melody, sung by the Soprano, which stands alone and independent from the rest of the ensemble. The piece begins with a sore and almost painful set of slides spanning no more than full tones from the string section in the opening bars. Translated as “song of sadness”, the piece tells the story of a woman pleading for the consolation of nature in the form of a nightingale after the death of her lover. She states “Console me if you can as I weep for my lover. When I am buried, sing this song when I am buried.” The haunting lyricism of the melody is conveyed by Natalka in a striking way. Her clear ability to access her internal support was of intrinsic importance when performing this song, as each phrase lasts for long, in an attempt to create the sense of weariness and loss of motivation. Yet, along with this solemn feel, Natalka was able to maintain a delicate touch to each line delivered, as she was able to exercise a gentility and lightness on each of the appoggiaturas which randomly appear throughout this one verse lament.
Malurous qu’o Unno Fenno
"Malurous qu'o uno fenno" is another piece in the Occitan language which poses the eternal marital paradox: he with no spouse seeks one, and he with one wishes he had none. In this piece, Natalka shows us her technical dexterity in the fast, fun and satirical dancing feel between the soprano melody and the flute countermelody. Her experience with coloratura repertoire is clearly exemplified in this, as every note is pitched perfectly. Her light tone in this piece is reflective of the nature of the lyrics of the folk song, playing with the satirical topic and conveys the irony and joviality of the situation which is being sung about. Natalka’s stage presence also engages with this theme and reflects her ability as a performer in the circles of young operatic theatre.
Azerbaijan Love Song
This piece has many aspects of the original and intended tonalities of the culture and begins with a strong and fervent entrance from the heavy snare drums, supposed to be symbolic of the musical culture of Azerbaijan. Natalka gives a very strong entry and competed effortlessly with the full and heavy ensemble behind her. In this piece, more than any, it is clear of her operatic routes, as her projection matches even the loudest and most prominent sections of the accompaniment. Stylistically, moreover, the piece gives the vocalist a chance to show off in their dexterity in rhythm and control over a complex melody line. Natalka shows off her ability to hold her own in a myriad of sound, accentuating the rhythmic anomalies in each verse in such a way which doesn’t sound forced yet also adds a real sense of character to each phrase. Emphasis lies on just the right syllables, which is impressive due to the fast-paced nature of each verse line. Her dexterity in the control of rhythm and pitch in this piece is particularly impressive as well, as the melody never seemed to be confused by the cacophony of sound behind her, with crystal clear precision on each note. The piece has a variety of different styles and sounds which add to the overall playfulness this folk song. Amongst fast paced and complex melody lines, the pace is interrupted with slow and melodic passages lasting for only a couple of bars. These were approached seamlessly with elegance and control, as Natalka would float above the higher register, adding her own ornamentations and inflections to show off her vocal dexterity and talent, as well as understanding and knowledge of the culture of which the piece has its origins.
Tempo and rhythmic changes were also handled well within the whole ensemble. Natalka shows us her ability to own the melody once more in the final dozen systems of the piece with her neat transition from the 6/8 time bar to the steady and more relaxed ¾ feel before the final recapitulation and coda. The final point about Natlaka’s performance of this piece is her amazing theatricality and command over the role of the cheeky feminine lover which the song tries to portray. Her interaction with the audience is, again, symbolic of her natural talent for Operatic Theatre and shows her experience in adopting a variety of roles. This is clearly exemplified in the very final bars of the piece where she simply speaks the last few words of the piece, giving even more character to the role. A fantastic piece to end on.