MUSIC / Soile Isokoski - Wigmore Hall, London

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The Independent Culture
She opened seraphically with Mozart's Ridente la calma, as supple as mercury. Soile Isokoski will be a soprano phenomenon of the Nineties, and there were many professionals present on Thursday checking the state of her art.

Her pitch is virtually flawless yet every perfect high note was a frisson and a shock, so that the sudden rise on 'Ach sein Kuss' in Schubert's 'Gretchen at the Spinning Wheel' made your temples go cold. This was dramatic, but the happy, almost mystical innocence of 'In Spring', which followed, seemed her instinctive mode. The concert was part of the Tender Is the North festival, which seemed appropriate.

But this gifted Finn is no artless primitive. Formerly an organist, she exposes text and structure with complete lucidity. Four Dream Songs, where Aulis Sallinen makes rapt personal use of the language Bartok established in Bluebeard, sounded as easy as Grieg. The distinguished Marita Viitasalo, her recital partner since 1987, accompanied.

Better in Germanic than Romance languages, Isokoski could seek greater confidence and warmth. But the Wigmore Hall audience knows what it likes and it certainly liked her.