With several major accomplishments to her credit in recent years, Canadian mezzo-soprano Susan Platts is ready to expand her horizons – to Europe.
The achievements include her first solo album – Frauenliebe und Leben (songs by Robert and Clara Shumann and Johannes Brahms), in 2008, and the premiere, last year, of Under the Watchful Sky, commissioned by Platts, with support from Rolex, and composed by Marjan Mozetich.
Her many recitals gain eloquent praise from the critics and she promises to continue to perform often for the American and Canadian audiences who follow her work. But she believes it is time to strengthen her following on the other side of the Atlantic. “I’ve followed my own path, as many singers would do this at an earlier age,” says Platts. “I feel now that I have both the mental and vocal maturity to take the next step.” A search for a European agent is under way. Platts has already sung at European venues, but she hopes to make this a much bigger part of her annual schedule.
“I was born in England, and I believe that performing in Europe can add to the richness of my knowledge and performance. For example, visiting the village where Brahms was born brings an extra dimension for me. There is also a far greater population density in Europe, with many opportunities for recitals and concerts.”
Asked about the origin of the “lushness” and richness of her voice that are singled out by many music critics, Platts says the quality is innate, but was greatly enhanced by Jessye Norman during their mentoring year together in 2004/2005. “Jessye took that quality in my voice and pulled it out, allowing me to maximize it, without damaging its authenticity. I was reminded of this at a recent concert in Providence, Rhode Island, when someone from the orchestra commented how my voice easily filled the whole hall. When you have a lower voice, as I do, sometimes being heard over the full orchestra can be difficult. Jessye really helped me work on that.”
Platts adds that she and Jessye Norman remain friends and whenever possible she attends performances by the legendary soprano.