...even before he began to sing, the baritone established himself as a charismatic presence: tall, fair of complexion, with expressive eyes and handsome cheekbones, Mr. Simpson put me in mind of the Royal Ballet's Edward Watson - and believe me, I can't pay a higher compliment than that.
Yet all that would have been for nought had Mr. Simpson not had the vocal goods to back up his physical appeal. But ...he does! This is a warm, clear, easily-produced voice - a voice wonderfully present in the big House. Mr. Simpson seemed utterly at home, both in the persona and in the music; one would have thought he'd sung this piece dozens of times since every word and note in his nuanced performance radiated assurance and grace. All afternoon, the Simpson voice was a veritable font of baritonal beauty, and while comparisons are not always meaningful, I can only say that listening to Mr. Simpson gave me the same deep pleasure I have often drawn from the singing of Sanford Sylvan and Thomas Hampson.
Deservedly hailed with bravos at his solo bow, Mr. Simpson proved so much more than a stand-in: he's a distinctive artist, and one I hope to hear again - soon and often.