Sunday, March 18, 2012

Concert: Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra + Vivica Genaux (10/27/2011)


Arias for Farinelli

Nicholas McGegan, conductor
Vivica Genaux, mezzo-soprano

FASCH: Concerto for Two Flutes, Two Oboes and Two Bassoons in D Minor
VIVALDI: “Cor mio che prigion sei” from Atenaide,
“Sin nel placido soggiorno” from La fede tradita e vendicata,
“Alma opressa” from La fida ninfa
TELEMANN: Concerto for Strings in D major, “Sinfonia Spirituosa”

Farinelli Arias:
HASSE: ”Or la nube procellosa”
PORPORA: "Or la nube procellosa" from Artaserse
“Oh volesser gli Dei…Dolci, freschi aurette” from Polifemo
BROSCHI: “Qual guerriero in campo armato” from Idaspe

RAMEAU: Orchestra suite from La Guirlande


這天,找來了幾位朋友一塊兒來聽音樂會。等到找到座位了,發現我旁邊是學校的一位美國朋友Katerina,也是古典樂的愛者,而且還有參加學校幾個合唱團。今天PBO請來一塊兒合作的,是知名的聲樂家Vivica Genaux。(這也是Katerina為什麼會來的原因)。因為平常對聲樂是比較無知的,所以聽Katerina才知道她可是古樂聲樂家中巨星之一。


所以,重點都放在Genaux身上。上半場她先唱了Vivaldi的幾首aria。下半場,則是唱為當時閹人歌手Farinelli量身訂作的aria,作曲家包括Farinelli的老師Porpora以及哥哥Riccardo Broschi。這些aria,總有橋段,要展現Farinelli聲樂上的卓越技巧。和Porpora相比,哥哥Broschi的aria過於愛現,音樂較為單調,深度較少,主要是秀給聽眾的炫技曲。

正規音樂會曲目結束之後,Genaux謝幕時,在熱烈的掌聲下表演了一首encore(來參加PBO音樂會少數有的安可曲),是Vivaldi有名的aria "Agitata da due venti",是典型的Vivaldi旋律。但這個聲樂的聲部,應該是給小提琴拉的才對吧,人聲怎麼可能辦到?!只聽到,Genaux的聲音靈活,十六分音符連音,或是上下跑,輕鬆自若,讓人嘆為觀止。沒當場聽Genaux表演,還不知道人的聲音有如此的能耐~~


This is the one of the last concert reviews in my backlog of my recent pending reviews (I've got some more distant ones that I'll take care of in the distant future.)  Because it's been a few months, my memory of the concert has started to fade away.  The good thing is, what I remember now must have had a lasting impression.

The star of this night's show was undoubtedly mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux.   Therefore, the remaining instrumental pieces that made the rest of the program were somewhat lackluster performances.  The Fasch and Rameau pieces failed to leave any deep impression on me, while the Teleman piece, whose recording I have is played by MAK, is always hard to top. 

Genaux sang arias written by Vivaldi in the first half.  It was interesting to read in the program notes that Vivaldi "considered himself first and foremost an opera composer."  It's funny how history has not been kind to him in that regards, although Vivaldi's operas are going revivals these days too, but they have not achieved the stardom anywhere close to his instrumental concertos. 

After intermission, Genaux sang arias tailored for castrato Farinelli, including his teacher Porpora and his brother Riccardo Broschi.  Of the two, Porpora was definitely the more accomplished composer, while Broschi's arias relied on sheer bravura and showiness of the castrato's voice.  Nothing wrong with wowing the audience, only that it lacked some musical depth required to sustain interest in the music.     

As one of the few occasions of hearing an encore piece at a PBO concert (more to do with Genaux than PBO itself), Genaux sang Vivaldi's famous showpiece aria "Agitata da due venti".  You hear the voice part, and you wonder, "shouldn't that be written for the violin? How is it that the human voice can do that?" Then you hear Genaux's performance, and you wonder at what the human voice is capable of.  Those repeated notes, leaps, and runs, just simply breathtaking.  Dazzling end to the concert, leaving me hooked on to this aria piece now :)

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