Jakub Józef Orliński

Jakub Józef Orliński
Jakub Józef Orliński, countertenor. Photo by M. Sharkey

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

George Frideric Handel: Rodelinda – Jeanine De Bique, Tim Mead, Benjamin Hulett, Avery Amereau, Jakub Józef Orliński, Andrea Mastroni – Le Concert d'Astrée, Emmanuelle Haïm (HD 1080p)
















Even by usual standards of patently implausible baroque opera plots, "Rodelinda" reaches new heights of Delphic abstruseness. William Hartston in the London Express described Handel's 19th opera as "everyone wanting to marry or kill everyone else".

Regardless of Hartston's hyperbole, confusion certainly abounds. A Penelope-esque wife erroneously thinks her husband is dead not once, but twice. The two principal protagonists mope around in a fiortura funk for most of the narrative. The imprisoned deposed-king mistakenly tries to kill his liberator. A betrothed couple separately renege. A cynical usurper is pardoned with "Clemenza di Tito-like" magnanimity. The names of many of the characters are unpronounceable and the happy ending beggars belief. That said, "Rodelinda" contains some of the most marvelous operatic music Handel ever wrote.

Regisseur Jean Bellorini's solution to the manifold dramaturgical conundrums was to transform a quasi-Greek tragedy into a variegated Legoland kindergarten.

In his program notes, Bellorini explains "We are in the mental universe of Flavio looking at the uncompromising world of adults, with all the fantasy and violence of a child's dream or nightmare". To remind the audience of this dubious dramaturgy (which had already been used by Claus Guth in Madrid) there were huge black and white projections of Flavio flashed frequently onto a rear scrim.

Alors, the kiddie-concept is all very well but the perspective of a child is inherently much more limited than the range of complex emotions manifest in Nicola Francesco Haym's poetic libretto drawn from Antonio Salvi and Pierre Corneille. As far as Handel was concerned, the mute moppet was of such minimal relevance he wrote neither melody nor text for the ubiquitous toddler. In fact, Handel had already given Flavio his own opera two years earlier.

The stage design was made up of constantly shifting, low ceiling doll's house rooms joined together like railway carriages. An assortment of hand-puppets as Lilliputian doubles of the dramatis personae dominated the extra-textual action. Reflecting the shifting line-dance of rooms, a toy train shunted back and forth for the first two acts but must have derailed before the third. There was frequent use of scary gauze facemasks which made the characters look particularly ghoulish for no particular reason.

In case the audience didn't know which parts of the opera were important, garish fluorescent tubes descended periodically to frame the relevant singers. There was so much extraneous action going on it was hard to know what was actually happening in the plot. The psycho-sexual and underlying political power play in "Rodelinda" were reduced to the triviality of the Tintookies or Thomas the Tank Engine.

Bellorini is a graduate of the Ecole Claude Mathieu specializing in comedy, but there were not many laughs in this staging other than some funny Chaplin-esque walks, hops, and pirouettes by Jakub Józef Orliński as Unulfo.

Fittingly Macha Makeïeff's eclectic costumes had an abundance of iridescent froufrou and frills which made the protagonists closer to commedia dell'arte clowns than Corneille's classic tragedy. The only consistently pleasing aspect of the production was the lighting by Luc Muscillo and there were some especially memorable imagines such as the vast blue/grey background to Bertarido's solitary scenes.

Directrice musicale Emmanuelle Haïm has worked on more than 60 works by Handel which gives her significantly more credibility than Monsieur Bellorini, whose previous operatic exploits number three. Leading the c.30 member Concert d'Astrée ensemble with verve and panache, maestro Haïm kept the tempi pacy and orchestral sonorities pungent. The only negative was a large number of cuts, especially in the music for Bertarido.

The usurper's dumped ex-fiance Eduige isn't exactly a complex character and American contralto Avery Amereau made a decent attempt to inject a Lady Macbeth malevolence into the role. There was fire in the recitatives with Garibaldo although diction was mushy. "Lo farò, dirò spietato" had smooth roulades with some Resnik-esque low A-natural chest notes on "cor". "De' miei scherni per far vendetta" had more punch with some solid D-naturals and feisty B-flats. A bravura cadenza brought the tirade to a powerful close. "Quanto più fiera tempesta freme" had puissance and rhythmic bite although the contrasting "Già lusinghiera, per mio conforto" section was closer to forte than the correct piano.

Bertarido's loyal friend Unulfo was given an almost buffo interpretation by rising-star countertenor Jakub Jósef Orliński. Although 27, the acclaimed Polish singer could pass for 17, thus fitting effortlessly into the kiddie-concept staging. "Sono i colpi della sorte" was a tour de force with Orliński's easily identifiable voice color excelling in the lengthy semiquaver roulades and chest notes. The fruity D naturals were particularly potent.

"Fra tempeste funeste a quest'alma" closed the first half with dazzling show-stopping coloratura pyrotechnics. The low chest notes on "bella" were vintage Horne and the aria rightly received the loudest applause of the evening.

Unulfo's later aria "Un zeffiro spirò che serenò quest'alma" with its almost dyspeptic syncopation and chuckling bassoon obbligato was hardly redolent of gentle zyphers, but Orliński not only excelled in the crisp rhythms and plumy mid-voice C naturals but was visually entertaining with some nifty dance steps testifying to his real-life expertise as a break-dancer.

Athough occasionally tending to slide upwards to the higher tessitura, Orliński has a formidable vocal technique and commendable commitment to the nuances of the text. The mid-range is wonderfully modulated and tonalties around D-natural really impressive. In all respects, a great performance.

In Corneille's drama "Pertharite, roi des Lombards", Grimoaldo was clearly the homme méchant, but Handel makes his henchman Garibaldo the ultimate cad and bounder. Andrea Mastroni had lots of fog-horny low notes but focus was fuzzy and characterization of the duplicitous duca mono-dimensional.

Revealing his true feelings for Eduige in "Di Cupido impiego i vanni" Mastroni's intonation left a lot to be desired and the roulades and cadenzas were cumbrous. The important recitative with Rodelinda in the graveyard scene was unconvincing. The cynical realpolitik views in "Tirannia gli diede il regno" were ruthlessly expressed but vocally less than optimal. For a native-born Italian, Mastroni's diction was far from exemplary and the dramatic recitative when Garibaldo is about to kill the sleeping Grimoaldo was disappointingly drab.

The role of Grimoaldo is dramaturgically ambiguous and English tenor Benjamin Hulett veered towards the power-grabber's more agreeable side. "Io già t'amai, ritrosa" was almost endearingly Tamino-like in its lyricism and the roulades on "sdegnasti" were elegantly executed.

Regrettably "Se per te giungo a godere" was cut, which meant that Grimoaldo doesn't guarantee Garibaldo his protection. "Che vedete, occhi miei!" was blandly offhand and "Tuo drudo è mio rivale" closer to Snidely Whiplash than de Torquemada.

The scene when Grimoaldo interrupts the tender reunion between Rodelinda and Bertarido was more of a Feydeau farce with the characters scampering through multiple doors and hiding behind the furniture. The remorseful "Fatto inferno è il mio petto" was convincingly articulated and the contrasting larghetto leading to "Pastorello d'un povero armento" movingly phrased. The lilting 12/8 aria itself was similarly seductive with some gentle word colouring on "contento". The da capo had tasteful trilling even if several upper register notes were not exactly pristine.

Bertarido has some of the most beautiful music in Handel's score and Tim Mead's honeyed countertenor timbre was ideal for the lyricism of the role. Although his first disguised appearance didn't look particularly Hungarian, there was greater verisimilitude musically.

The accompanied recitative "Pompe vane di morte!" was sensitively articulated and following "Dove sei, amato bene!" with extended fermata on "Dove" beautifully phrased with delicate vibrato-less ornamentation on "consolar" in the da capo. The stately "Io t'abbraccio e più che morte" duet with Rodelinda was one of the musical highpoints of the evening. The entwining melodic lines with macarto string accompaniment was Handelian vocal elegance at its apogee. "Chi di voi fu più infedele" was sung from inside an over-lit prison-bar box with little semblance to a "carcere oscurissima". Vocally this was another tour-de-force for the former King's College Cambridge choral scholar who relished the low tessitura with come splendid C-naturals.

Curiously "Con rauco mormorio" was a bit plodding and not exactly "luongo delizioso" as scored. "Scacciata dal suo nido" was cut thus depriving the audience of enjoying Haym's ornithological erudition. Similarly regrettable was that the rousing "Se fiera belva ha cinto" aria and preceding recitative with Unulfo were also deleted. By contrast, "Vivi tiranno! Io t'ho scampato" gave Mead the chance for an impressive display of bravura vocalism although his real strength is in the long legato lyric line rather than fizz and fireworks.

At the outset, the ostensibly widowed Rodelinda isn't having a very jolly time at all, and "Hò perdutoil caro sposo" has all the angst of Orfeo lamenting Euridice. Trinidad-born soprano Jeanine De Bique displayed a suitably doleful timbre and admirable breath control but the voice had more metal than melancholy. The following Abigaille-ish "L'empio rigor del fato" was marred by uneven semi-quaver scales and roulades and the tempo change to adagio on "se misera mi fè" was ignored.

"Ombre, piante, urne funeste!" continued the mournful mood but this time there were some deliciously light floaty top G-naturals with a Pamina-ish cantilena. There was more venom in "Morrai sì, l'empia tua testa" with an exciting cadenza before "trono". Similarly "Spietati, io vi giurai" showed that this Lombardian widow was far from merry, despite the chirpy oboe obbligato. When wrongly believing her husband to be dead for a second time, "Se'l mio duol non è si forte" had some poignant sustained E-flats assisted in no small measure by sensitive flûtes à bec. An interpolated top A-flat fermata in the da capo was impressive without losing musical integrity.

De Bique's diction throughout was never more than proximate with the recitatives being particularly unsatisfactory. Despite a melting smile, dramatically things were less than Bernhardt-esque and De Bique's squeal when Flavio is temporarily abducted by Garibaldo was more titter than trauma.

Haïm took the concluding "Dopo la notte oscura più lucido" chorus at a rollicking Rossinian pace which made the heavy rallentando on "il sol quaggiù" even more effective. All is forgiven and like "tutti a festeggiar!" Bertarido orders that "great rejoicings reach to the last limits of our kingdom".

Apart from the executed Garibaldo, everyone else enthusiastically joins the jubilation. Finally, the IMAX projections of Flavio could be dispensed with but there was still a lingering feeling that this munchkin-focused doll's house mis-en-scène was more kiddie jumping castle than angst-filled Ibsen.

Back to Feydeau or Marcel Marceau for Monsieur Bellorini.

Source: Jonathan Sutherland (operawire.com)



George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)

Rodelinda, HWV 19 (1725)

Opera in three acts

Libretto by Nicola Francesco Haym (1678-1729) and Pierre Corneille (1606-1684)

Rodelinda..........Jeanine De Bique, soprano
Bertarido..........Tim Mead, countertenor
Grimoaldo..........Benjamin Hulett, tenor
Eduige..........Avery Amereau, contralto
Unolfo..........Jakub Józef Orliński, countertenor
Garibaldo..........Andrea Mastroni, bass
Flavio (the child)..........Aminata Diouaré

Le Concert d'Astrée
Conductor: Emmanuelle Haïm

Stage Director: Jean Bellorini
Stage Designer: Jean Bellorini, Véronique Chazal
Lighting: Jean Bellorini, Luc Muscillo
Costume Designer: Macha Makeïeff
Make-up and hairstyling: Cécile Kretschmar

Direction by Anthony Toulotte
Produced by Olivier Simonnet

Opéra de Lille, October 2018

(HD 1080p)















Synopsis

Act I

The opera opens with Rodelinda's lament for Bertarido, the husband she believes to be dead. "Ho perduto il caro sposo", she sings, voicing the tragedy that is the central fact of her life as she sits alone and weeping in the palace. Though Rodelinda will pass through grief, misery and fury, her fidelity to Bertarido's memory is inflexible and defines her every action until their joyous reunion.

She is disturbed by the arrival of Grimoaldo, the usurper of her husband's throne, who declares both his love and his desire to marry her. Garibaldo, his henchman, arrives, and suggests that his patron free himself of the woman he once promised to marry, Eduige, who complicates the plot by also being Bertarido's sister. But Garibaldo – falsely, since he is a villain – protests his love to Eduige, believing she will help him attain the throne, to which she has a claim so long as Rodelinda's son, Flavio, is still a minor.

A disguised Bertarido appears at his own tomb and reads the inscription. He reflects upon the hollow splendour of man's ambitions in a long accompanied recitative, "Pompe vane". Longing for Rodelinda, he sings the meltingly beautiful aria "Dove sei", declaring that only in her presence can he find consolation for his sorrow.

Unulfo appears but is unable to comfort his friend, the devastated Bertarido. They hide when they hear Rodelinda approach the tomb and give voice to her misery in the aria "Ombre, piante", then are forced to listen to Garibaldo threaten her: either she marries Grimoaldo or Flavio will die. She agrees to the union but vows that her first request as queen will be the head of Garibaldo, the Iago-like counsellor of Grimoaldo. Her sober mournfulness now turns to something more passionate: "Morrai, sì" is a surprisingly sprightly hymn to future vengeance.

But it is not enough to persuade Bertarido of her fidelity when, from a hidden place, he hears her agree to marry his enemy Grimoaldo. Immediately certain of her infidelity, he launches into the bitter "Confusa si miri". He vows to appear to her when she is married.


Act II

The importunate Garibaldo is surprised at Eduige's consent to marry him since she has lost Grimoaldo. Meanwhile Rodelinda, tormented past bearing by his overtures, turns on Grimoaldo with a test of his own monstrosity and declares that she will marry him only if he will murder her son in front of her eyes (thus proving his absolute villainy). Unulfo urges him to refuse; Garibaldo urges him to accept. The distressed Grimoaldo hastens from the scene, leaving Garibaldo to plot his master's downfall.

Bertarido stands in "a pleasant landscape" and gives himself over to the pathetic fallacy: nature's sounds and sights mirror his own anguish. Eduige is reunited with her brother, astonished to find Bertarido alive and elated to hear that his sole aim is to save his wife and son (and not to reclaim the kingdom). Unulfo appears and assures Bertarido that his wife is in fact faithful to him, and both his heart and his aria turn joyful in "Scacciata dal suo nido".

Unulfo then goes to Rodelinda and assures her that her husband still lives and soon will return to her: "Ritorna, o caro" gives voice to her rhapsodic joy and longing. Bertarido seeks her out in the palace and kneels to beg her forgiveness for having doubted her constancy. They are no sooner united than discovered, as Grimoaldo arrives.

To save Rodelinda's reputation, Bertarido reveals that he is her husband, but, in order to protect him, she denies this. Grimoaldo, uninterested in the man's identity, condemns him to prison and certain death. The last the loving couple believe they will know of one another are the final moments of "Io t'abbraccio".


Act III

Eduige gives Unulfo a key to rescue the imprisoned Bertarido while Garibaldo, bad to the very end, urges Grimoaldo to kill him. In a dungeon, Bertarido reflects upon his fate in "Chi di voi", the music as restless as his spirit. His lament is interrupted by both a sword dropped down to him by Eduige and the arrival of Unulfo with the key: mistaking his friend for the executioner, Bertarido stabs and wounds him. No sooner has he realized his mistake than distant voices force them to flee. They leave behind a bloody cloak, which the arriving Rodelinda takes to be that of her husband. Certain that he is dead, she lapses into re-doubled grief in "Se'l mio duol", begging God to strike a dagger through her heart.

Grimoaldo takes an honest look at the beast he has become, longs for a shepherd's simple life and seeks escape in sleep. Garibaldo, discovering him, tries to kill him but is prevented by Bertarido: too noble to allow his enemy Grimoaldo to fall victim to treachery, Bertarido drives Garibaldo off and kills him.

The waking Grimoaldo is confronted by his enemy's declaration (in one of Handel's greatest stand-and-deliver arias, "Vivi, tiranno"), witnessed by the entering Rodelinda, that Bertarido has spared him and saved his life. Proof of such clemency moves Grimoaldo to repentance: he gives Bertarido his wife, his son and his throne, and the royal lovers are reunited to general rejoicing.

Source: Donna Leon (Deutsche Grammophon)




































































More photos


See also


Francesco Cavalli: Erismena – Francesca Aspromonte, Carlo Vistoli, Susanna Hurrell, Jakub Józef Orliński, Alexander Miminoshvili, Lea Desandre, Andrea Vincenzo Bonsignore, Stuart Jackson, Tai Oney, Jonathan Abernethy – Cappella Mediterranea, Leonardo García Alarcón (HD 1080p)

“Anima Sacra” – Jakub Józef Orliński, Il Pomo d'Oro, Maxim Emelyanychev – Live at Théâtre Impérial de Compiègne, November 16, 2018


Jakub Józef Orliński: "I have already jumped over all of my dreams"

Enemies in Love | George Frideric Handel – Jakub Józef Orliński, Natalia Kawałek, Il Giardino d'Amore, Stefan Plewniak


Jakub Józef Orliński: A star is rising in the world of opera


&

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Don Giovanni – Waltteri Torikka, Tapani Plathan, Timo Riihonen, Ida Falk Winland, Joska Lehtinen, Anna Danik, Nicholas Söderlund, Malin Christensson – Tapiola Sinfonietta, New Generation Opera Ensemble, Ville Matvejeff, Erik Söderblom (HD 1080p)

Richard Strauss: Die Frau ohne Schatten – Avgust Amonov, Mlada Khudoley, Olga Savova, Edem Umerov, Olga Sergeyeva – Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra & Chorus, Valery Gergiev – Jonathan Kent, Paul Brown (HD 1080p)


Giacomo Puccini: Tosca – Maria Callas, Carlo Bergonzi, Tito Gobbi – L'Orchestre la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire, Georges Prêtre (1965, Digital Remastering 2014, Audio video)


Giacomo Puccini: Madama Butterfly – Kristine Opolais, Roberto Alagna, Maria Zifchak, Dwayne Croft – Karel Mark Chichon, Anthony Minghella (MET 2016 – Download the opera)


Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata – Marlis Petersen, Giuseppe Varano, James Rutherford – Graz Philharmonic Orchestra and Graz Opera Chorus, Tecwyn Evans, Peter Konwitschny (Oper Graz 2011, HD 1080p)


Alban Berg: Lulu – Marlis Petersen, Kirill Petrenko, Dmitri Tcherniakov – Bavarian State Opera 2015 (Download the opera)


Georges Bizet: Carmen – Elena Maximova, Giancarlo Monsalve, Michael Bachtadze, Johanna Parisi – Myron Michailidis, Enrico Castiglione (Taormina Festival 2015, HD 1080p)

Giacomo Puccini: Turandot – Mlada Khudoley, Riccardo Massi, Guanqun Yu, Michael Ryssov – Wiener Symphoniker, Paolo Carignani – Marco Arturo Marelli (Bregenz Festival 2015 – Download the opera)


Engelbert Humperdinck: Hänsel und Gretel – Brigitte Fassbaender, Edita Gruberova, Helga Dernesch, Hermann Prey, Sena Jurinac – Wiener Philharmoniker, Georg Solti (HD 1080p)


Christoph Willibald Gluck: Orfeo ed Euridice – A film by Ondřej Havelka – Bejun Mehta, Eva Liebau, Regula Mühlemann – Václav Luks


Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata – Anna Netrebko, Rolando Villazón, Thomas Hampson – Carlo Rizzi, Willy Decker (Salzburg Festival 2005)


Antonio Vivaldi: Ercole su'l Termodonte – Zachary Stains, Mary-Ellen Nesi, Alan Curtis, John Pascoe (Spoleto Festival 2006)


Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Iolanta – Anna Netrebko, Sergei Skorokhodov, Valery Gergiev, Mariinsky Theater 28/9/2009


Giacomo Puccini: Tosca, Act II – Maria Callas, Renato Cioni, Tito Gobbi, Georges Prêtre, Franco Zeffirelli


Dmitri Shostakovich: Katerina Izmailova (Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk), 1966 – A film by Mikhail Shapiro – Galina Vishnevskaya, Konstantin Simeonov


Saturday, January 19, 2019

Sergei Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No.3 in C major – Martha Argerich, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Lahav Shani














Accompanied by the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of the Israeli conductor Lahav Shani, the Argentine classical pianist Martha Argerich, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest pianists of all time, performs Sergei Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No.3 in C major, Op.26. The concert was recorded at Doelen's Grote zaal, Rotterdam, Netherlands, on December 21, 2018.



For his Third Concerto for piano and orchestra, Prokofiev looked to the past for inspiration: this concerto incorporates material derived from sketches made between 1911 and 1918. The first movement contains two themes that were written in 1916, plus a chordal passage first sketched in 1911; the second movement contains a theme and variations that was written in 1913, while the final movement uses thematic material from a discarded string quartet begun in 1918. When he began composing this concerto during a holiday in Brittany, Prokofiev wrote, "I already had all the thematic material I needed except for the third theme of the finale and the subordinate theme of the first movement".

The Third Piano Concerto is perhaps Prokofiev's best known essay in this genre, and approaches Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov in popularity and frequency of performance. Its opus number places it just after the "Classical" First Symphony of 1917, and the concerto is, in its way, similar to the First Symphony is a number of ways: both works are lively, acerbic, with brilliant orchestration and a certain transparent texture. Both pieces are also clearly the work of a deft young composer of considerable technical skill; however, the two works differ greatly in regards to their reception. The "Classical" Symphony was reasonably well received in Russia, where it was performed only once before Prokofiev emigrated to the United States. Subsequent performances of the symphony in America were very successful. The Third Concerto, on the other hand, did not fare so well, and after a good premiere in Chicago (along with the opera Love for Three Oranges) in 1921, the work was roundly denounced in New York.

The Concerto displays much of the "harmonic liveliness", in Nancy Siff's words, of the mid-period symphonies, with its sudden shifts from key to key and chromatic harmony. The sophistication and bravura generally associated with Prokofiev's music is ever present, as is the humor found in many of his orchestral works. The Concerto is in a traditional three-movement concerto form (the only one of Prokofiev's five piano concertos to use the traditional form), beginning and ending with fast movements that flank a slow middle movement. Each movement is about the same length, and the thematic weight and interest is distributed evenly throughout the movements. The work begins with a vivacious opening movement, which includes a humorous march underlined by castanets, followed by the five variations of the second movement, and concludes with a grandiose display of colorful harmonies and virtuosic orchestration. The solo writing for the piano is also virtuosic, and at times quite percussive.

Source: Alexander Carpenter (allmusic.com)



Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)

♪ Piano Concerto No.3 in C major, Op.26 (1921)

i. Andante – Allegro [0:29]*
ii. Tema con variazioni [10:15]
iii. Allegro, ma non troppo [20:05]

Martha Argerich, piano

Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra
Conductor: Lahav Shani


Encore:

Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)

♪ Ma mère l'Oye, Suite for piano 4 hands

iii. Laideronnette, impératrice des pagodes: Mouvt de marche (1910) [33:47]
v. Le jardin féerique: Lent et grave (1910) [38:30]
i. Pavane de la Belle au bois dormant: Lent (1908) [44:46]

Martha Argerich, piano
Lahav Shani, piano

Doelen's Grote zaal, Rotterdam, Netherlands, December 21, 2018

(HD 720p)

* Start time of each movement















Martha Argerich was born in 1941 in Buenos Aires. From the age of five, she took piano lessons with Vicenzo Scaramuzza. In 1955 she went to Europe with her family, and received tuition from Friedrich Gulda in Vienna; her teachers also included Nikita Magaloff and Stefan Askenase. Following her first prizes in the piano competitions in Bolzano and Geneva in 1957, she embarked on an intensive programme of concerts. Her victory in the Chopin Competition in Warsaw in 1965 was a decisive step on her path to worldwide recognition.

Martha Argerich rose to fame with her interpretations of the virtuoso piano literature of the 19th and 20th centuries. But she does not regard herself as a specialist in "virtuoso" works – her repertoire ranges from Bach through Beethoven, Schumann, Liszt, Debussy and Ravel, to Bartók.

Martha Argerich has worked as a concert pianist with many famous conductors. She has also attached great importance to chamber music ever since, at the age of 17, she accompanied the violinist Joseph Szigeti – two generations older than herself. She has toured Europe, America and Japan with Gidon Kremer and Mischa Maisky and has also recorded much of the repertory for four hands and for two pianos with the pianists Nelson Freire, Stephen Bishop-Kovacevich, Nicolas Economou and Alexandre Rabinovitch. Martha Argerich has performed at Gidon Kremer's festival in Lockenhaus, at the Munich Piano Summer, the Lucerne Festival and at the Salzburg Festival, where she gave, for instance, a recital with Mischa Maisky in 1993.

She appeared with Claudio Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic at the 1992 New Year's Eve Concert with Strauss's Burleske and also at the Salzburg Festival at Easter 1993. May 1998 saw the long-awaited musical "summit meeting" between Martha Argerich, Mischa Maisky and Gidon Kremer. On the occasion of a memorial concert for the impresario Reinhard Paulsen, the three artists came together in Japan, where they performed piano trios by Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky (recorded live by Deutsche Grammophon). In March 2000 Martha Argerich gave her first great solo appearance in almost 20 years in New York's Carnegie Hall.

Martha Argerich has close ties with Deutsche Grammophon, dating back to 1967. She has recorded prolifically during this period: solo works by Bach, Brahms, Chopin, Liszt and Schumann; concerto recordings of works by Chopin, Liszt, Ravel and Prokofiev with Claudio Abbado, Beethoven with Giuseppe Sinopoli, and Stravinsky's Les Noces with Leonard Bernstein. Her recording of Shostakovich's First and Haydn's Eleventh Piano Concertos with the Württembergisches Kammerorchester Heilbronn conducted by Jörg Färber was crowned with the Tokyo Record Academy Award in 1995 and that of Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No.1 with Claudio Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra was awarded the CD Compact Award in 1997.

She has also dedicated herself to chamber music, and has recorded works by Schumann and Chopin with Mstislav Rostropovich, and cello sonatas by both Bach and Beethoven with Mischa Maisky. She has made numerous successful recordings with Gidon Kremer, such as Violin Sonatas by Schumann and works by Bartók, Janácek and Messiaen (Prix Caecilia 1991), and Mendelssohn's Concerto for violin and piano with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Their recording of Prokofiev sonatas and melodies received the 1992 Tokyo Record Academy Award, the Diapason D'Or 1992 and the Edison Award 1993. One of their most outstanding recording achievements was that of the complete Beethoven Violin Sonatas (Nos. 1-3: Record Academy Award 1985), which was concluded with the release of the Sonatas Op.47 "Kreutzer" and Op.96 in 1995. Among her more recent releases is the above-mentioned live recording of piano trios by Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky with Mischa Maisky and Gidon Kremer.

Martha Argerich takes a great supportive interest in young artists. In September 1999 the first International "Martha Argerich" Piano Competition took place in Buenos Aires – a competition which does not only carry her name but in which she is president of the jury. In November 1999 the second "Martha Argerich Music Festival" took place in southern Japan, with concerts and masterclasses being given not only by Martha Argerich but also by Mischa Maisky and Nelson Freire among others.

Source: deutschegrammophon.com















Lahav Shani has established himself as one of the most talked about young conducting talents making a huge impression with his astonishing maturity and natural, instinctive musicality. In September 2018 he takes over as Chief Conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, succeeding Yannick Nézet-Séguin and becoming the youngest Chief Conductor in the orchestra's history. In the 2020-2021 season, Shani will succeed Zubin Mehta as Music Director of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, and will be the orchestra's Music Director Designate from 2019-2020.

In the 2017-2018 season, Shani became Principal Guest Conductor of the Vienna Symphony Orchestra, following a number of appearances with the orchestra since his debut in May 2015, including a major European tour in January 2016. Shani also works regularly with the Berlin Staatskapelle, both at the Berlin Staatsoper and also for symphonic concerts. In spring 2019 he will return to conduct "Don Giovanni" at the Berlin Staatsoper.

Recent and upcoming highlights as a guest conductor include engagements with the Vienna Philharmonic, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, London Symphony Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Dresden Staatskapelle, Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Boston Symphony, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Philharmonia Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Philadelphia Orchestra, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic, Bamberger Symphoniker and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France.

Shani's close relationship with the Israel Philharmonic started in 2007 when he performed Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto under the baton of Zubin Mehta and continued in the following years as both a pianist and also as a double-bass player. Shani was born in Tel Aviv in 1989 and started his piano studies aged six with Hannah Shalgi, continuing with Prof. Arie Vardi at the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music in Tel Aviv. He went on to complete his studies in conducting with Prof. Christian Ehwald and piano with Prof. Fabio Bidini, both at the Academy of Music Hanns Eisler Berlin. Whilst a student he was mentored by Daniel Barenboim. In 2013 he won First Prize in the Gustav Mahler International Conducting Competition in Bamberg.

As a pianist Shani made his solo recital debut at the Boulez Saal in Berlin in July 2018. He has play-directed piano concertos with many orchestras including the Philharmonia Orchestra, Staatskapelle Berlin, and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. Recent concerto engagements include appearances with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Beethoven Triple Concerto with Renaud and Gautier Capuçon with the Israel Philharmonic. Shani also has considerable experience performing chamber music appearing recently at the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, the Cologne Philharmonie and the Verbier Festival.

Source: intermusica.co.uk







































More photos


See also


Franz Liszt: Piano Concerto No.1 in E flat major – Martha Argerich, Wiener Philharmoniker, Daniel Barenboim

Johann Sebastian Bach: Partita No.2 in C minor, BWV 826 – Martha Argerich

Sergei Rachmaninov: Suite No.2 for two pianos, Op.17 – Martha Argerich, Nelson Freire


Dmitri Shostakovich: Piano Concerto No.1 in C minor – Martha Argerich, David Guerrier, Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra, Gábor Takács-Nagy

&

Claude Debussy: Violin Sonata in G minor – Renaud Capuçon, Lahav Shani (HD 1080p)

Felix Mendelssohn: Violin Concerto in E minor – Vlad Stanculeasa, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Lahav Shani

Gustav Mahler: Symphony No.1 in D major "Titan" – Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Lahav Shani


Thursday, January 17, 2019

Gustav Mahler: Symphony No.8 in E flat major "Symphony of a Thousand" – Manuela Uhl, Juliana Di Giacomo, Kiera Duffy, Anna Larsson, Charlotte Hellekant, Burkhard Fritz, Brian Mulligan, Alexander Vinogradov – Simón Bolívar National Youth Choir of Venezuela, Niños Cantores de Venezuela, Schola Cantorum de Venezuela, Schola Juvenil de Venezuela – Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, Gustavo Dudamel (Caracas 2012, HD 1080p)














"You have to start small to achieve big things", says conductor Gustavo Dudamel, whose career, from beginnings in his beloved Venezuela to the great concert halls of the world, is living testament to this credo. In January and February 2012, those "big things" reached their most extraordinary dimensions yet in a five-week cultural, musical, social and personal odyssey known as "The Mahler Project". 

"Crazy and amazing" is how Dudamel once described his "long-held dream" to perform all of Gustav Mahler's completed symphonies on the centennial of the composer's death. This dream came true when Dudamel brought together both sides of his "musical family", the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra - comprised of his fellow graduates of El Sistema, Venezuela's remarkable system of national music education – for an undertaking of breathtaking ambition: two orchestras; two cities; two countries; nine-and-a-half symphonies – each performed in Los Angeles and in Caracas. Scores of education and community outreach projects, two hundred instrumentalists, almost two thousand singers, ten soloists. And in the middle of it all, one conductor.

Certainly it is impossible to think of another musician who could have pulled off this feat other than Dudamel. "It was a huge challenge but it was something Gustavo felt was so important to do", explains Deborah Borda, President of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where Dudamel has been Music Director since 2009. "There's no doubt he has charisma, magnetism, and remarkable depths of artistic comprehension, but Gustavo is also a visionary leader." Indeed, Dudamel's Mahler Project was not just another concert series, but a vivid re-imagination of the possibilities for cross-cultural musical collaboration. "It was tremendous", Borda recalls, "to see people of two countries, two cities, and two orchestras united in a positive vision for the future, for their culture, for their communities, through music".

At the heart of this monumental endeavour in Caracas, sandwiched between gripping accounts of Mahler's Seventh Symphony with the Bolívars and the Ninth Symphony with the LA Phil, was a performance of Mahler's Eighth so epic that its usual nickname, "the Symphony of a Thousand", became an ironic understatement. "Like nirvana" is how Dudamel describes the sea of musical sound created by the combined LA Phil and Simón Bolívar Symphony orchestras together with a chorus comprised of El Sistema students from núcleos (local community music schools) across Venezuela. So gargantuan was the mass of voices that even the choir mistress, Lourdes Sànchez, could not keep count of how many kids were actually onstage. "Maybe twelve hundred, maybe thirteen hundred?" she suggests. "It's like flying an Airbus 380", says Dudamel with a smile, "you are taking a lot of people with you".

If the numbers seem staggering to American and European audiences, to Venezuelans all this is quite normal. This is a country, after all, in which almost 400,000 children are engaged in free, comprehensive music-education programmes. And with more than 80% of them hailing from the country's poorest, lowest-strata barrios, they are living proof of El Sistema founder José Antonio Abreu's visionary conviction that "when you give a poor child a musical instrument, he is no longer poor".

On stage in Caracas, despite markedly different backgrounds and circumstances, the Venezuelan musicians and their American counterparts seemed to revel in sharing a desk and learning from one another. "The most important thing", says Bolívar concertmaster, Alejandro Carreño, "is that we are united by one idea – the idea of making beauty together". "It was such a pleasure to perform with our Venezuelan colleagues", enthuses Joanne Pearce Martin, the LA Phil's keyboardist. "We formed wonderful and lasting friendships. They are such an exuberant bunch of musicians and they have such a wonderful, youthful, generous spirit. And, of course, Gustavo inspires us all with his incredible energy."

The evening of that remarkable Eighth Symphony performance, Caraqueños young and old flooded in their thousands to the Teatro Teresa Carreño. The jubilant, euphoric atmosphere surrounding the event was more akin to a giant football match or rock concert than a night at the symphony. Among the hordes, a father held his little boy on his shoulders. They had walked from the barrio just up the hillside. The little boy studies violin at a local núcleo and, said his father, "one day he wants to grow up to be a great musician like Gustavo".

From small beginnings to the heights of nirvana, such is the message and legacy of the Mahler Project. "You have to be really thankful to life", says Dudamel, "to have the chance to conduct a symphony like the Mahler Eighth under these conditions. It is not only a great musical but a great human event". Summarizing the realization of this biggest of dreams not only as an epic personal and musical accomplishment but as a metaphor for a better world, Dudamel reflects: "This project is the symbol of union – the symbol of how love, how art, how two orchestras and a thousand singers can become one".

Source: Clemency Burton-Hill, 9/2012 (gustavodudamel.com)



Gustav Mahler (1860-1911)

♪ Symphony No.8 in E flat major "Symphony of a Thousand" (1906-1907)


i. Hymnus "Veni creator spiritus"
ii. Final Scene from Goethe's "Faust"

Manuela Uhl, soprano
Juliana Di Giacomo, soprano
Kiera Duffy, soprano
Anna Larsson, mezzo-soprano
Charlotte Hellekant, mezzo-soprano
Burkhard Fritz, tenor
Brian Mulligan, baritone
Alexander Vinogradov, bass

Simón Bolívar National Youth Choir of Venezuela
Niños Cantores de Venezuela
Schola Cantorum de Venezuela
Schola Juvenil de Venezuela

Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra
Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela

Conductor: Gustavo Dudamel

Video director: Michael Beyer

Filmed in the Teatro Teresa Carreno, Sala Rios Reyna, in Caracas, Venezuela, 17-18 February 2012

(HD 1080p)















"A once-in-a-generation event and one of the most ambitious live recordings ever made": So trumpets the blurb on the case of this release, and for once, such apparent hyperbole is warranted. Dudamel says in his bonus interview that he wanted this occasion to be "as big as can be"; and certainly there can be no complaints about its sheer scale. Two orchestras share the honors, surpassing Mahler's extreme scoring demands (besides the vast string section and a few extra reinforcements onstage, the offstage brass contingent, dramatically placed in the left rear, is more than doubled). They're joined by well over 1,000 mostly youthful choristers (every one of whom – along with the soloists and instrumentalists – is individually honored in the credits). Surely, this is the Real Thing. Add to this the political dimension – an act of music-making that, like the performances by Daniel Barenboim's West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, bridges sharp political divides. Then add the almost palpable joy in music-making evident in both the performance (watching the children's chorus is almost worth the price of admission) and the unusually engaging bonus feature: clearly, an occasion well worth memorializing on Blu-ray.

But, you might reasonably ask, how about the performance simply "as a performance"? I'm not sure that it's possible to divorce the interpretation from its context – but my guess is that if you simply listened to this account, without the background, without the video, you'd rate it as very good, but not quite on the level of the greatest recordings, from Stokowski through Horenstein, Bernstein/London and Solti on to Tilson Thomas. This was the climax of Dudamel's massive Mahler project, which involved a heavy travel and concert schedule and the challenge (at least for the Los Angeles musicians) of working in a new, and apparently difficult, acoustical environment. Under the circumstances, the event was liable to be dominated by either exhaustion or adrenaline. We can be thankful that it was the latter – but it's not without some small costs.

Thus, you're most likely to remember this Eighth for its energy: for the shock of "Accende" at rehearsal 38 in the first movement, for the tremendous snap of the two choral shouts of "Hostem" a few pages later (after rehearsal 42), for the inevitability with which the players march into the recapitulation, for the jauntiness of the orchestra around rehearsal 56 in the second movement, and for the overwhelming build of the final chorus. And although the spatial differentiation between the two adult choirs is not ideally conveyed, Dudamel still manages to boost the energy of the passages where they call back and forth to one another, just as he brings out the spirited interplay of the orchestral soloists.

I don't want to suggest that this reading is simply a high-tension operation: There's plenty of quieter beauty here, for instance in the wonderfully colored opening to the second movement (Dudamel is especially good at balancing the passacaglia-like aspect of the passage to create a sense of vague expectation) or in the gloriously transparent music featuring harps and keyboards toward the end of the second movement, especially when they accompany the Mater Gloriosa, luminously sung from on high by Kiera Duffy. Orchestral playing is excellent from first to last, surprising when you consider that two entirely different groups have been merged – truly merged, with some first desks taken by the LA crowd, others by their Venezuelan counterpoints. (For just one example of orchestral skill, listen to the unanimity of the three clarinets before rehearsal 14 in the second movement.) Even so, I think it's fair to say that, in the interests of the larger picture, smaller details sometimes get scanted, especially in the second movement which, until the ending, relies less heavily on sheer chutzpah. The acoustics may be partly at fault here. As I've said, this hall has a reputation of being difficult; in any case, while the engineers have provided plenty of impact, the sound lacks the vivid timbral clarity (and the bass definition) we get on Tilson Thomas's SACDs, or even on Solti's still spectacularly detailed stereo disc. (There are also some odd clunks, too, as if one of the cameras needed new shock absorbers.)

But some of the lack of specificity stems from the performers. Part of the problem may be that Dudamel is still new to this work: The LA concerts that preceded the Caracas event (also, apparently, in a terrible acoustical environment) were reported to be his first times conducting the Eighth. Part of the problem may be that, except for the always absorbing Anna Larsson, Dudamel's soloists – while eager, involved, and alert to the dramatic import of Mahler's gestures – do not for the most part offer the same kind of interpretive shading as do the superstars that Solti managed to gather up, or even the lesser luminaries on the Tilson Thomas recording. Add to all of this the conducting logistics: With choral forces 25 rows or so deep, problems of coordination are magnified in a way that certainly discourages subtle rubato and other kinds of shading. Still, I don't want to emphasize the weaknesses: This may not be the place to go when you want to relish the orchestral details of the quieter moments of the second movement, but when you're in the mood to immerse yourself in the sheer grandeur and humanity of the Eighth, this tremendous and life-affirming reading will win your heart. All in all, a cause for celebration.

Source: Peter J. Rabinowitz (Fanfare Magazine)















With Mahler having held two prominent New York conductorships during the writing of his Eighth Symphony, many listeners at the piece's 1910 premiere commented on its "American" dimensions. It's hardly surprising, then, that when Gustavo Dudamel was looking to make a larger statement, he turned to Mahler's Eighth. With the most reliable attention-getter in the symphonic repertory, Dudamel sees Mahler's New World and raises him a continent.

It's difficult to overstate the magnitude here. Dudamel's 2012 Mahler Project, pairing the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra with a vast array of Venezuelan choristers, culminated with more than 1400 performers – a likely Guinness record – and sets a standard for cross-cultural music-making. Few events have been as primed for the camera yet prepared with such precision for the microphone.

Dudamel's charisma, supremely necessary in unifying his onstage forces, also proves photogenic. So too does the camera take the viewer to the most interesting vantage points. But, unlike Bernstein's 1975 outing with the Vienna Philharmonic (the obvious DVD comparison), this has CD-quality sound. In the accompanying documentary footage, Dudamel describes the piece as a "choral orchestral" piece, rather than the other way around, which perfectly marks the strengths here. Rarely has a chorus come off so perfectly balanced, even in the softest sections.

Unfortunately, balance and precision do not always translate into depth. Dudamel's concept of Mahler has deepened noticeably since his initial Fifth with the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra but, once past the bombast of the "Veni, Creator Spiritus", he still treats the music more as a series of effects than a fuller narrative. The camera that frames soprano Kiera Duffy's climatic cameo shifts the emotional tone far more effectively than the performance itself does.

The simple logistics of assembling these forces is laudable, as are the results. But with so impressive a gathering, one wishes they would have left a bit more room on the stage for Mahler.

Source: K. Smith (gramophone.co.uk)



































































































More photos


See also


Ludwig van Beethoven: Symphony No.9 in D minor "Choral" – Julianna Di Giacomo, Tamara Munford, Joshua Guerrero, Soloman Howard, Orfeó Català, Cor de Cambra del Palau de la Música, Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, Gustavo Dudamel (HD 1080p)

Richard Strauss: Also sprach Zarathustra – Berliner Philharmoniker, Gustavo Dudamel (Download 96kHz/24bit & 44.1kHz/16bit)

Sergei Rachmaninov: Piano Concerto No.3 in D minor | Sergei Prokofiev: Piano Concerto No.2 in G minor – Yuja Wang, Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra of Venezuela, Gustavo Dudamel (Audio video & Download 96kHz/24bit)

Hector Berlioz: Grande Messe des morts (Requiem) – Gustavo Dudamel (Notre-Dame de Paris 22-01-2014, HD 1080p)

Gustav Mahler: Symphony No.2 in C minor, "Resurrection" – Miah Persson, Anna Larsson, Gustavo Dudamel (HD 1080p)

Monday, January 14, 2019

Francesco Cavalli: Erismena – Francesca Aspromonte, Carlo Vistoli, Susanna Hurrell, Jakub Józef Orliński, Alexander Miminoshvili, Lea Desandre, Andrea Vincenzo Bonsignore, Stuart Jackson, Tai Oney, Jonathan Abernethy – Cappella Mediterranea, Leonardo García Alarcón (HD 1080p)


















Erismena is an opera in a prologue and three acts by Francesco Cavalli. It was designated as a dramma per musica. The Italian libretto was by Aurelio Aureli, the only work by this writer for Cavalli.

Erismena is the first full-length opera known to have been translated into English and may have been first performed in England in 1674.

It was first performed in Venice at the Teatro Sant' Apollinare on 30 December 1655 with further performances between that date and 28 February 1656. Cavalli revised the work in 1670. Both versions have survived as well as one with an English translation, also dated to the 17th century.

Source: en.wikipedia.org



Erismena is an opera by Francesco Cavalli that was a big hit in 1655. Its popular appeal has dropped somewhat since then and it is almost never produced these days. But the Aix-en-Provence Festival is giving this rarity an outstanding production and the Festival  gets a laurel wreath for intelligent and aggressive programming. A world premiere of Pinocchio, an opera by Philippe Boesmans, the production of a very early opera and three familiar works, Carmen, Don Giovanni and The Rake's Progress, cover a lot of ground, to say the least.

Erismena is a product of its period. A complex story is told through accompanied recitatives and "songs" but this is before the development of the aria so don't expect lengthy da capo cadenzas.

The language of the opera is ornate, colourful and formulaic. All emotions are extreme. They love, adore, die, suffer, and languish on extraordinary levels and at great length. We accept the mode of expression as a relic of the early years of opera.

The plot is almost impossible to digest by trying to read a synopsis or follow the English surtitles of the performance that is sung in Italian. Director Jean Bellorini tries to be helpful by inserting a scene at the beginning where King Erimante of Media, after defeating the Armenians, dreams of his crown being stolen from him by a knight.

Erismena is in love with Idraspe who dumped her. She disguises herself as an Armenian soldier and goes in search of him but is wounded. She is taken to the court of King Erimante. The disguised and brave Erismena is entrusted to the slave Aldimira. And, you guessed it, Aldimira falls in love with Erismena.

Prince Idraspe shows up in Media disguised as Erineo and he is in love (provide your own adverbs) with Aldimira. Idraspe as Erineo is ordered to poison Erismena but she recognizes him and passes out, ergo no poisoning. Stay with me. Erismena pretends to be her own brother out to find Idraspe. Aldimira has a deal: I find Idraspe, you marry me.

That puts a kibosh on King Erimante's plan to marry Aldimira and he throws Aldimira and the disguised Erismena in jail. They all escape and are caught and the King orders Idraspe/Erineo and Erismena to kill each other. At which point Erismena bears her breasts to show that she is a woman. Idraspe goes through a quickie metamorphosis (I love you; forgive me). She does and we all find out that Erismena is the king's daughter.

I have given you only one strand of the plot. There must be another dozen of them but who is counting. There are ten characters and every one of them has a convoluted story.

The singing is quite marvelous even without the lengthy arias and coloratura cadenzas. Soprano Francesca Aspromonte has a sumptuous voice and she gives a marvelous performance in a role that requires a lot of running on and off stage. That is true for all the cast. The other soprano in the cast is Susanna Hurrell who gives an equally fine performance.

There are two countertenors in Carlo Vistoli as Idraspe and Jakub Józef Orliński as Prince Orimeno (who is dumped by Aldimira but he eventually marries her). Always a delight to hear finely tuned high male voices. The King is sung by Alexander Miminoshvili, a bass baritone as becomes the rank of the role.

Tenor Stuart Jackson plays the old nurse Alcesta. He is a big man dressed in a purple dress and provides a bit of comedy. I thought Alcesta would provide quite a few laughs but that simply did not fully materialize.

The sets by Jean Bellorini and Véronique Chazal were minimalist, sometimes consisting of a couple of chairs and at times using a platform and effective lighting to indicate dreams. The costumes by Macha Makeïeff were of no particular time period but they may be described as modern. Dresses, kilts, skirts, a fur jacket, some colourful shoes, they went all over the place.

One of the big delights was the tiny Cappella Mediterranea orchestra conducted by Leonardo García Alarcón. They provided a wonderful treat of 17th century music that made you accept the plot twists without wincing.

A fascinating night at the opera.

Source: James Karas (jameskarasreviews.blogspot.com)



Francesco Cavalli (1602-1676)

Erismena (1655)

Dramma per musica

Opera in a prologue and three acts

Libretto by Aurelio Aureli

Erismena..........Francesca Aspromonte, soprano
Idraspe & Erineo..........Carlo Vistoli, countertenor
Aldimira..........Susanna Hurrell, soprano
Orimeno..........Jakub Józef Orliński, countertenor
Erimante..........Alexander Miminoshvili, baritone
Flerida..........Lea Desandre, mezzo-soprano
Argippo..........Andrea Vincenzo Bonsignore, baritone
Alcesta..........Stuart Jackson, tenor
Clerio Moro..........Tai Oney, countertenor
Diarte..........Jonathan Abernethy, tenor

Cappella Mediterranea
Conductor: Leonardo García Alarcón

Stage Director and Lighting: Jean Bellorini
Stage Designer: Jean Bellorini & Véronique Chazal
Costume Designer: Macha Makeïeff
Make-up and hairstyling: Cécile Kretschmar

Direction by Jérémie Cuvillier
Produced by François Duplat

Festival International d'Art Lyrique d'Aix-en-Provence, Théâtre du Jeu de Paume, July 12, 2017

(HD 1080p)
















After Monteverdi's death, Francesco Cavalli became the leading opera composer in Venice. Tremendously popular during his lifetime, he was soon forgotten after his death, and his operas vanished from the stage until their resurrection toward the end of the twentieth century.

Cavalli's father, G.B. Caletti, was probably his first music teacher. Federico Cavalli, the Venetian governor of Crema whose name Cavalli eventually adopted, was taken with young Francesco's voice and brought him back to Venice with him at the end of his term. Cavalli entered the cappella of St Mark's in Venice as a boy soprano in 1616. After his voice changed, he remained in the cappella as a tenor.

During Cavalli's first 25 years at St Mark's, he sang under the direction of Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643), with whom he cultivated a relationship, and with he may have studied formally. His earliest known publication is a motet printed in Leonard Simonetti's Ghirlanda sacra, an anthology of motets by 26 composers.

Cavalli supplemented his income from St. Mark's by taking other positions in Venice, including that of organist at the church of Sts Giovanni e Paolo. He also sang and played at numerous church festivals. His marriage (January 7, 1630) to Maria Sozomeno brought the composer a substantial dowry and some measure of financial independence.

Cavalli was appointed second organist at St Marks in 1639; at approximately the same time, he invested in the Teatro San Cassiano (the first public opera house in Venice [built in 1637]), and began writing operas for that theater. This proved to be a sound financial venture for Cavalli, since he earned far more money writing for the theater than he did from his position at St Mark's. By 1670, he had composed 41 stage works, most for the San Cassiano. Cavalli's Egisto (1643), Ormindo (1644), and Calisto were all especially successful productions; these, as well as others, have been revived in the twentieth century (often by Raymond Leppard, who greatly altered Cavalli's scores).

Cavalli visited Paris twice, and a modified version of his Serse (1654) was given there in 1660 as part of Louis XIV's wedding celebration. This represented a compromise, because the opera Cavalli had been commissioned to compose, Ercole amante (Hercules in love), was not completed in time for the performance. Finished in 1662, Ercole amante is notable among Cavalli's works for the use of orchestral strings to accompany recitative; earlier works had made use of basso continuo alone.

The most popular of Cavalli's operas was Giasone, composed in 1649; it is a perfect example of Cavalli's stark division between recitative and aria. In the perhaps inevitable comparison between Giasone and Cavalli's other operas with the works of Monteverdi, the younger composer's recitatives are less passionate, less probing into the psyche of the character, and lacking in the variety of Monteverdi's. However, Cavalli's arias are more developed than Monteverdi's. Strophic in format, Cavalli's arias are generally in triple meter and the words are set syllabically, except for occasional decorative melismas. In each opera, there is usually at least one lament, often employing a repeated, descending bass line and resembling a passacaglia.

It is in his sacred works that Cavalli most resembles Monteverdi; his earliest known sacred piece, Cantate Domino, could be mistaken for a work by the older master. The conservative nature of Cavalli's sacred works no doubt stems from his desire to maintain the musical tradition of St Mark's, developed in previous decades by Gabrieli and Monteverdi.

John Palmer (allmusic.com)






















































































More photos


See also

George Frideric Handel: Rodelinda – Jeanine De Bique, Tim Mead, Benjamin Hulett, Avery Amereau, Jakub Józef Orliński, Andrea Mastroni – Le Concert d'Astrée, Emmanuelle Haïm (HD 1080p)

“Anima Sacra” – Jakub Józef Orliński, Il Pomo d'Oro, Maxim Emelyanychev – Live at Théâtre Impérial de Compiègne, November 16, 2018

Jakub Józef Orliński: "I have already jumped over all of my dreams"

Enemies in Love | George Frideric Handel – Jakub Józef Orliński, Natalia Kawałek, Il Giardino d'Amore, Stefan Plewniak

Jakub Józef Orliński: A star is rising in the world of opera

&

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Don Giovanni – Waltteri Torikka, Tapani Plathan, Timo Riihonen, Ida Falk Winland, Joska Lehtinen, Anna Danik, Nicholas Söderlund, Malin Christensson – Tapiola Sinfonietta, New Generation Opera Ensemble, Ville Matvejeff, Erik Söderblom (HD 1080p)

Richard Strauss: Die Frau ohne Schatten – Avgust Amonov, Mlada Khudoley, Olga Savova, Edem Umerov, Olga Sergeyeva – Mariinsky Theatre Orchestra & Chorus, Valery Gergiev – Jonathan Kent, Paul Brown (HD 1080p)

Giacomo Puccini: Tosca – Maria Callas, Carlo Bergonzi, Tito Gobbi – L'Orchestre la Société des Concerts du Conservatoire, Georges Prêtre (1965, Digital Remastering 2014, Audio video)


Giacomo Puccini: Madama Butterfly – Kristine Opolais, Roberto Alagna, Maria Zifchak, Dwayne Croft – Karel Mark Chichon, Anthony Minghella (MET 2016 – Download the opera)


Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata – Marlis Petersen, Giuseppe Varano, James Rutherford – Graz Philharmonic Orchestra and Graz Opera Chorus, Tecwyn Evans, Peter Konwitschny (Oper Graz 2011, HD 1080p)


Alban Berg: Lulu – Marlis Petersen, Kirill Petrenko, Dmitri Tcherniakov – Bavarian State Opera 2015 (Download the opera)


Georges Bizet: Carmen – Elena Maximova, Giancarlo Monsalve, Michael Bachtadze, Johanna Parisi – Myron Michailidis, Enrico Castiglione (Taormina Festival 2015, HD 1080p)

Giacomo Puccini: Turandot – Mlada Khudoley, Riccardo Massi, Guanqun Yu, Michael Ryssov – Wiener Symphoniker, Paolo Carignani – Marco Arturo Marelli (Bregenz Festival 2015 – Download the opera)


Engelbert Humperdinck: Hänsel und Gretel – Brigitte Fassbaender, Edita Gruberova, Helga Dernesch, Hermann Prey, Sena Jurinac – Wiener Philharmoniker, Georg Solti (HD 1080p)


Christoph Willibald Gluck: Orfeo ed Euridice – A film by Ondřej Havelka – Bejun Mehta, Eva Liebau, Regula Mühlemann – Václav Luks


Giuseppe Verdi: La Traviata – Anna Netrebko, Rolando Villazón, Thomas Hampson – Carlo Rizzi, Willy Decker (Salzburg Festival 2005)


Antonio Vivaldi: Ercole su'l Termodonte – Zachary Stains, Mary-Ellen Nesi, Alan Curtis, John Pascoe (Spoleto Festival 2006)


Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Iolanta – Anna Netrebko, Sergei Skorokhodov, Valery Gergiev, Mariinsky Theater 28/9/2009


Giacomo Puccini: Tosca, Act II – Maria Callas, Renato Cioni, Tito Gobbi, Georges Prêtre, Franco Zeffirelli


Dmitri Shostakovich: Katerina Izmailova (Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk), 1966 – A film by Mikhail Shapiro – Galina Vishnevskaya, Konstantin Simeonov