by Illiam Sebitz
Alison Lau has brought her beautiful vocal talents and laser sharp focus to the world of classical singing in a way that is refreshing and highly enjoyable. Born and raised in Hong Kong, soprano Lau is one of the most sought-after soloists of her generation. Lau received her master’s degree at New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, and her bachelor’s degree at the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. She is an alumnus of the Jockey Club Opera Hong Kong Young Artist Development Program. Her education has been generously supported by the Opera Hong Kong K. Wah International Vocal Scholarship, Foundation for the Arts and Music in Asia Vocal Scholarship, the Andy Anselmo Scholarship in Voice and the NEC Merit Award and Scholarship, The Hong Kong Children’s Choir Vocal Scholarship and the Michael Rippon Memorial Vocal Scholarship. Lau has released an album entitled, My Voice & I, which contains ten selections ranging from Motzart to “Till There Was You” (From the musical The Music Man). Her voice is angelic and pleasant on the ears, her control is both technical and emotional. This is a fine recording for all classical vocal fans.
Lau begins the album with a stunning rendition of “Caccini, Vavilov: Ave Maria.” “Ave Maria” is a well-documented and recorded aria composed by Vladimir Vavilov around 1970 and for this selection Lau is joined by the Re:Sound Collective & Joshua Tan. Lau’s control through her soprano vocal range is marvelous. Her coloratura and vocal weight is perfectly balanced and beautifully shaped around each phrase of the this popular melody. Lau’s upper register is especially full and balanced, her high notes are not strained and her vocal mechanics certainly reveal that she has a very organic and natural singing style, breath and delivery. That is the cornerstone to this wonderful selection, Lau’s delivery and control of her voice elevates this performance, beyond standard fare.
In March of 2018, Lau released a single from My Voice & I, the Cohen compositions “Hallelujah.” That track is the ending selection on the album and serves as a beautiful closing statement and another stylistic example of the power of Lau’s singing. The arrangement is chalk-full of strings a backing choir and is directed with style and finesse. Lau’s delivery of the melody is precise and full of emotion. Again, where Lau shines is her amazing upper register and laser pitch control. The beginning of the melody is in Lau’s lower range, and she conveys it in an innocent almost childlike manner to match the innocence of the lyrics and melody. She than proceeds to develop the lines with character and maturity to give the listener an experience of a journey through the lyrics and melody, which is both moving and emotional.
Certainly, in the classical field there are many skilled vocalists, but it is tone, rhythm and articulation that sets the cream de la crème above all else. Lau has these traits in reserve, and when the melody calls for it, she is up to the task with crystalline clarity and elegance. A well-conceived project, by a rising star in the classical field.
My Voice & I
- Release Date: July 18, 2018
- Label: Universal Music Ltd.
- Total Length: 45:28