Gabriel Preisser. Take a second if you will, and just let that name settle into your memory. It is a name that is already of extolment and only gaining more and more nobility. Preisser, a lyric baritone, is “critically acclaimed by the NY Times, Opera News, and several others.” He is from Apopka, Florida and his resume embodies over “30 operatic and musical theater roles including Figaro in “Il Barierre di Siviglia”, Dnailo in “The Merry Widow”, the title role in “Don Giovanni”, ]] Gallo in “The Fantasticks”, Falke in “Die Fledermaus”, and Bob Baker in “Wonderful Town” with such companies as Minnesota Opera,. Des Moines Metro Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Pensacola Opera, Kentucky Opera, El Paso Opera, Skylark Opera and others.” On the Minnesota Orchestra, Orlando Philharmonic, Houston Bach Society, Ars Lyrica, Atlanta Ballet, and Mercury Baroque stages Pressier has been a featured soloist further showcasing his immense musical endowment. In 2010 Preisser “was honored as a district winner in the 2010 Metropolitan Opera National Council Competition as well as winning the American finals of the international Lirico Concorso Competition in 2011.” On last Thursday, Rollins had the luxury of presenting Gabriel Preisser with distinguished piano phenom Edward (Eddie) Rothmel for “The Food of Love” concert.
Preisser owned the stage and was the chauffer of a hypnotic and entrancing journey through a dimension of music untraveled. Singing selections from Purcell, Strauss, Ravel, Tosti, Barber and various musical theater selections, his compass held no limits to where we, the audience, were going. Preisser opened up with Purcell’s “Music for a While” and hushed the audience with the lusciousness of his voice that leaked ease throughout the hall balcony and beyond. His stage presence was adored aside from his alluring performance(s), he was charismatic in anecdote in between pieces and oozed such charm that it percolated through the walls. Compelling and distinguished, Pressier’s voice is an instrument that cannot be competed against. His performance of Strauss’ “Briet’ über mein Haupt, Op. 27, No. 3” had goose bumps creeping alongside my arm and trailing my spine. He eased notes out so easily and showed no struggle in singing AND performing; a concept t0o commonly forgotten amongst some. Preisser became the song, the character, the part. He yet again won over hearts in this way from the audience with Ravel’s “Don Quichotte à Dulcinée”; especially in the third movement with “Chanson à boire” (drinking song) commencing with a staggered walk and befuddled face. Singing impeccably and going as far as to even throw hiccups occasionally into it and holding close to the piano to prevent from falling. He evoked joy from the unprepared audience who in their whispers gossiped over their amazement of THE Gabriel Pressier.
Pianist Eddie Rothmel also stirred emotion within the audience. His playing was of a magnitude not often observed in accompaniment. Together he and Pressier sent a fire throughout Teidtke Hall that burned bright. Rothmel induced us with his art and captured our attention with his reflected discernment and acuteness of the piano. Gifted and masterly, he rewrote the underpraised craftsmanship that is piano playing. Pressier and Rothmel: musicians in every sense of the word. Remember the names; the lingering audience turned fan-boys and girls with their artistic expression and talent will.