quinta-feira, 31 de dezembro de 2009

FELIZ ANO NOVO!


Enquanto degusto as minhas últimas pérolas, que serão objecto de crítica, e adio o best of 2009, FAÇO VOTOS DE UM EXCELENTE ANO NOVO DE 2010!

segunda-feira, 28 de dezembro de 2009

«A música é sempre neutra»


(Alex Ross)

Alex Ross dixit.

A não perder a entrevista do autor de The Rest is Noise, o crítico do The New Yorker e editor do blog homónimo.

«Hubo un momento en que la armonía se rompió. La música ya no la necesitaba para definir el mundo. Sonaba mejor el caos…

Aquel viaje comenzó lleno de incertidumbres, como una caída al vacío sin red y sin agua en la que flotar. El público no lo entendía. Todavía hoy muchos se resisten a hacerlo. El placer, la emoción, se transformaban en angustia. Pero ¿qué podía hacer sino el arte? ¿Seguir proporcionando bálsamos o definir una época, como el siglo XX, que atravesó el Holocausto y coqueteó desde Hiroshima hasta hoy con la autodestrucción?

La música como lenguaje del mundo es lo que nos cuenta Alex Ross en un libro fundamental, apasionante, titulado El ruido eterno (Seix Barral). Se trata de uno de esos extraños ensayos en principio dirigidos a minorías que conquistan a una gran mayoría. Quien se mete en él descubre rápidamente por qué. El crítico musical de la revista The New Yorker ha recorrido la etapa más convulsa de la historia reciente a través de los compositores que nos han producido escalofríos en la edad contemporánea. Hombres de su tiempo con historias épicas, dramáticas y desesperadas. Artistas en conflicto permanente por sus relaciones con el poder, el amor y la muerte, que aplicaban a la vida un ritmo continuo y fascinante.

Todo empezó con Wagner. En los primeros acordes de Tristán e Isolda, concretamente. Aquel silbido invitó a muchos a transitar por el camino del riesgo y la incertidumbre. Le siguió Richard Strauss asomándose al precipicio con su Salomé, su Electra. Pero fueron después los inquietos y salvajes integradores de la Escuela de Viena, con Arnold Schoenberg a la cabeza, quienes lo llevaron a sus últimas consecuencias.

A partir de ahí, todo resultó válido. Se cerraron varias puertas, pero se abrieron muchas más: los caminos más excitantes de la vanguardia que después se han ampliado con el jazz, el rock o la música electrónica. Lo hicieron en mitad de la incomprensión y el apoyo. Entre la tensión y el peligro de muerte. Sorteando las embestidas de Hitler y Stalin, adaptándose a la guerra fría y a la poderosa irrupción de la música pop. Formando matrimonios fascinantes y alianzas que llevaban a pactar a The Beatles con Stockhausen en canciones como A day in the life del mítico Sgt. Pepper’s, a los músicos de jazz con el dodecafonismo, a la ópera con el musical, a la ultravanguardia con el cine…

Todo era posible en mitad de una gran orgía ecléctica. La que ha servido a Ross para armar un relato global, un estudio, una novela y un gran reportaje al tiempo que nos cuenta los triunfos, incomprensiones y padecimientos de Wagner, Mahler, Schoenberg, Debussy, Strauss, Stravinski, Messiaen, Ligeti, Elliott Carter, Shostakovich, Benjamin Britten… Los arquitectos del sonido que nos hace comprender ahora tantas cosas.»

Anna di Lammermoor


(Anna Netrbko como Lucia - Lucia di Lammermoor, Met 2009)

Sugiro que o fiel leitor avalie a prestação de Anna Netrebko, como protagonista de Lucia di Lammermoor, na récita a que aqui aludi (e aqui) - Met, 2009. Mais: sugiro que substitua o preconceito (para não falar de narcisismo destrutivo) por uma atenta avaliação ;-)


Pessoalmente, creio haver espaço para muitas Lucia's: Callas (a dramática), Sutherland (a pirotécnica), Gruberova (a mais-que-pirotécnica), Dessay (a belcantista) e Netrebko (a fémea, actriz, intérprete, cantora and so on). À côté, há ainda Scotto e Anderson (a excelsa).

Termino com uma sugestão: que se desidealizem as pretéritas! Respeite-mo-las e aprecie-mo-las, sem esquecer que existem outras, actuais, diferentes, mas igualmente magnéticas e brilhantes! Se assim não for, tornar-nos-emos escravos do mundo "pretérito, perfeito e idílico", que apenas existe nas depressivas mentes (doentes).

Agora, é tempo de degustar a cena da Loucura e o seu final (Spargi d'amore pianto).
Bom proveito!

domingo, 27 de dezembro de 2009

sábado, 26 de dezembro de 2009

O autêntico Hoffmann (?)


(Joseph Calleja e Kate Lindsey em Les Contes de Hoffmann - Met Opera House, 2009)

Retorno à nova produção de Os Contos de Hoffmann, estreada no Met esta temporada. Desta feita, a polémica (!) centra-se na autenticidade da versão em cena. Polémica relevante e interessante, esta!

«In a news release for the Met’s new production, Mr. Levine stated that in the absence of an “authentic, fully realized original version,” companies must make their own choices. The score he has assembled for the Met, though loosely based on the old Choudens version, uses “a great deal of the information that has come to light over the years,” Mr. Levine wrote.

“Balderdash,” Mr. Kaye responded in an open e-mail message sent to numerous music critics. He wrote that he greatly regretted that Met audiences were not hearing some of the most recently discovered original music. Further, he reported that a new edition of the opera that he had completed with Jean-Christophe Keck, with the latest sources and discoveries, was soon to be published.

I am no expert on the conflicting versions of “Hoffmann,” which present the work variously with different arias, dialogue, orchestrations and even story twists.

Still, it is hard to dispute Mr. Levine’s observation that there will never be a definitive score for the work. Offenbach lovers who object to the Met’s choices regarding editions have to understand the world in which the composer, a savvy man of the theater, operated.

Were he to rise from the dead and learn that the Met was eager to put on “Hoffmann,” Offenbach would probably never say, “Ah, at last, a chance to hear my opera as I intended it!”

He would almost surely pose a list of questions to Peter Gelb, the Met’s general manager, and Mr. Levine: “Great. So, who is the tenor in the title role? How big will the orchestra be? Should we spruce up the orchestration? Do you need other changes? Are you going to perform it in English? I would assume so. It makes sense for a New York audience.”

It is hard to imagine that Offenbach would have conceived of a definitive version of one of his works, even an opera that meant as much to him as “Hoffmann.” This was not the way things occurred in the professional opera world of his time.»

sexta-feira, 25 de dezembro de 2009

domingo, 20 de dezembro de 2009

Férias - Em degustação...

Planar no céu...

Por via desta relíquia, pairo, no mais longínquo dos céus...

O virtuosismo mais extraordinário de Genaux, a suprema agilidade, a infalibilidade técnica, colocam-na, justamente, no Olimpo, ladeando as grandes
mezzo coloratura, dos últimos 50 anos: Berganza, Horne, Bartoli e Didonato.

Junte-se-lhe um timbre absolutamente andrógino...

Às vezes, o virtuosismo barroco exacerbado – que, por regra, me enfada – conquista os cépticos!


Caso o leitor não seja avesso a
condutas menos conformes – uma vez não são vezes -, passe por aqui... faça download... e que se delicie ;-)D)D)

sábado, 19 de dezembro de 2009

Em degustação...

Balanços líricos

Eis um discutível e controverso (é britânico, está bem de ver...) - mas interessante - balanço operático da primeira década do século XXI:

«Pavarotti died in the twilight of his career, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson and Susan Chilcott were cruelly cut down in their prime. Domingo soldiered on magnificently, the great survivor.

Some prodigious new tenor talents also emerged: Rolando Villazón, Jonas Kaufmann, Juan Diego Flórez. Among the women, Anna Netrebko’s glamour hit the headlines, but it was Joyce di Donato, Nina Stemme and Natalie Dessay who gave evidence that the art of great singing was far from dead. Renée Fleming and Cecilia Bartoli stayed at the top of the game, too.

Flying the flag for Britain were Bryn Terfel, Sarah Connolly, Alice Coote, Simon Keenlyside and Gerald Finley, as well as a clutch of superb young conductors (Richard Farnes, Edward Gardner, Robin Ticciati) plus an octogenarian who could give any of them a run for their money – Charles Mackerras.

Directors continued to delight and enrage in equal measure with productions that sometimes threatened to hijack the score and libretto. Among the agents provocateurs, Calixto Bieito mercifully seems to have vanished, but David Alden and Graham Vick have come back, older and wiser. Mature talents, matching thoughtfulness and originality with musicality, included David McVicar and Deborah Warner and, above all, the prodigious Richard Jones.

The search for new opera continued. There were many premières, but little took root. Thomas Adès and Harrison Birtwistle impressed the coteries rather than the wider public, Jonathan Dove vice versa. For my money, the era’s one masterpiece was George Benjamin’s Into the Little Hill, a perfect miniature which haunts, chills and thrills.»

Genaux vs Bartoli - II



As comparações não cessam... mas o Barroco, na sua expressão mais ousada e pirotécnica, parece-me melhor servido por La Bartoli. Pelo menos, a avaliar por este magnífico artigo, tão criativo e literário, a propósito da actuação de Cecilia Bartoli, no Palau de Valência:

«Respira este espectáculo que la mezzosoprano Cecilia Bartoli lleva de gira para promocionar su nuevo disco (Sacrificium, Decca) y que el jueves recaló en el Palau de la Música. Respira por todos sus poros, que son muchos poros. El barroco es poroso.

Respira arrojo y valentía. Hay que estar muy seguro de uno mismo para salir vestido de mosquetero e irse despojando hasta quedar en mangas de camisa (con chorreras), conforme las arias que vas cantando pasan del ardor guerrero al lamento pastoril. Si alguien tiene el temperamento dramático para afrontar semejante envite es Cecilia Bartoli. En la segunda parte viste de mujer, pero sin haberse apeado de las botas de montar. El barroco es ambiguo.

Respira el programa, la manera milimétrica en que está organizado. Bartoli ofrece una antología personal del repertorio barroco napolitano para contralto, con una incursión a Venecia (Antonio Caldara) y otra, sorprendente, a Berlín (Carl Heinrich Graun). ¿Qué muestra en este viaje? Pues una completa tipología de arias dramáticas para contralto: arias heroicas, de furor o de caza; arias en stile imitativo, donde aparecen por sorpresa el ruiseñor y la mariposa; arias de lamento, de partida, de piedad, etcétera. Variedad sazonada de joyas como Parto, ti lascio, o cara, de Niccolò Porpora, o Cadrò, ma qual si mira, de Francesco Araia. Para cada una encuentra Bartoli el registro más ajustado. El barroco es contraste.

Respira, y mucho, Il Giardino Armonico, una veintena de músicos con instrumentos originales -sensacionales trompas sin pistones- a las órdenes de Giovanni Antonini, quien también asume funciones de flautista solista. Un punto histriónico, es cierto, pero ¿puede exigírsele que reprima el impulso cuando Bartoli ha desatado el tifón?

Y desde luego respira la voz de Cecilia Bartoli, prodigio de agilidades, de fuerza, de expresión arrolladora. Trinos en pianissimo, saltos interválicos de vértigo, tiempos llevados al límite del paroxismo, notas de adorno torrenciales, cambios de registro teatralmente forzados, apoyos extraordinariamente medidos. Ése era el show-businness de los castrados en la Italia del siglo XVIII, hombres de circo que sorteaban todo tipo de obstáculos con la voz y que gozaron de una enorme reputación hasta que la dolorosa práctica se fue extinguiendo a lo largo del XIX y acabó con la prohibición vaticana de principios del XX. Pero la mirada de Cecilia Bartoli sobre ellos no sólo es amena, sino también crítica: ha investigado en la vida de esos personajes y llega a sus propias conclusiones. El barroco es un estilo de matices, se precisa una técnica muy amplia para afrontarlo.

Y finalmente respiró, entusiasmado, el público que llenó el Palau. Fuera de programa, cantó Cecilia Bartoli Lascia la spina, de Händel, y los alientos quedaron en suspenso hasta que llegó otra aria de fuegos artificiales de Riccardo Broschi y fueLink el delirio. En ese tramo final del concierto Bartoli incorporó incluso plumas de marabú: sin ellas, en efecto, no se entiende el mundo de los castrados. El barroco es así de deslumbrante.»

Contudo, manda a prudência, aguardemos pela chegada do registo vivaldiano de Vivica Genaux, Pyrotechnics. Então, veremos se a minha impressão se confirma, ou não!

«Ne serait Mozart qu'elle a très peu chanté - "Je n'y serais pas meilleure que bien d'autres, alors pourquoi ?" -, la carrière de Vivica Genaux ressemble à celle de son illustre aînée, Cecilia Bartoli. Même goût pour les grands rôles de mezzos rossiniens (Le Barbier de Séville, Cendrillon, L'Italienne à Alger), pour les travestis de l'opéra baroque (Haendel, Vivaldi). Même volupté à chanter le répertoire pyrotechnique des castrats (Broschi, Porpora, Giacomelli). Même envie de ramener à l'air libre des musiques oubliées (Hasse). "J'ai toujours eu une grande facilité pour les vocalises, confie-t-elle. Pour moi, c'est très proche de l'improvisation en jazz et de la haute couture. Et puis il y a le côté virtuose, qui est grisant. C'est comme conduire une voiture de course à toute vitesse sur l'autoroute en se disant qu'il ne faudra pas rater la sortie !"»

sábado, 12 de dezembro de 2009

Domingo e os filhos-da-puta


(Plácido Domingo, Teatro alla Scala - 1969 - como protagonista de Ernani, de Verdi)

Que o alla Scala é um teatro de excepção, todos o sabemos. Trata-se de uma casa ancestral, sóbria - most of the time... - e muito exigente, por onde passa a nata do canto lírico mundial. Há, contudo, uma fatia do público, dito difícil, que dá pela graça de loggionisti. Trata-se de uma variante do filho-da-puta. Sádicos, invejosos e ressabiados, a pretexto da extrema exigência, masturbam-se a humilhar os intérpretes.

Nos demais teatros líricos, recorre-se à pateada, legítima e saudável. No alla Scala, a corja dos loggionisti achincalha - vide Lucrezia Borgia, com Fleming, nos idos 1990, e Aïda, com Alagna, há duas temporadas atrás.

Parece, todavia, que os filhos-da-puta estavam ausentes deste maravilhoso concerto, que comemorou os 40 anos de carreira do tenor espanhol no teatro milanês - Ernani que catapultou Domingo para a glória, em 1969. Ou, quem sabe, Domingo encheu-lhes as medidas!

«Forty years ago almost to the day, Placido Domingo, then a young Spanish opera singer with sideburns like Elvis Presley, set foot on the stage of the legendary Milan opera house for his first starring role there, in Verdi's Ernani. This week he returned to mark the anniversary, with a valedictory performance that had the opera buffs weeping in delight.

But this was no cruise into the sunset with the hood down. Despite the advancing years (he is 68, if you believe the official account), he tore into Wagner with Argentinian-born conductor Daniel Barenboim at the reins. The Prelude and Liebestod from Tristan und Isolde went down well, but more breathtaking still – "spectacular" said the critics – was his rendition of the role of Siegmund from the first act of Wagner's Die Walküre.

One critic noted that there were moments of tiredness or prudence, where in the past the tenor might have floored the throttle. But he added that Domingo, who has done more than 3,000 performances, "still had a voice stronger than most 30-somethings".

Backstage, reliving his triumph, the great man told the correspondent of La Stampa: "Yes, it went well. But it's also thanks to this theatre. To sing at La Scala is something else. It's the quintessence of opera. This public has given me so much and I believe I've given them much as well."

The mood was nostalgic, but this was no swansong. Domingo has 45 singing and 15 conducting engagements lined up for the 2009/10 season. His friends at La Scala have not seen the last of him by any means.»

Bartoli dixit

Genaux vs Bartoli



Genaux e Bartoli, duas das mais famosas mezzo da actualidade - não esquecer a fabulosa Didonato -, cruzar-se-ão, em breve, em solo francês. A esse propósito, o Le Figaro compara-as, como segue:

«Vivica Genaux défie Cecilia Bartoli, la plus célèbre mezzo du monde, sur son propre terrain : le bel canto. Portraits croisés de deux artistes que réunit au moins le désir de ressusciter l'art vocal des castrats baroques.

Parcours Il y a sept ans, personne n'imaginait comparer l'Américaine d'Alaska Vivica Genaux à la Bartoli, tant la Romaine dominait de la voix et des chiffres de ventes toutes ses rivales. Pourtant, leur parcours comme leur ambition les rapprochent : début avec Mozart et Rossini, puis révélation du répertoire baroque. Pour investir ces champs en jachère, elles se sont appuyées sur les meilleurs experts et ensembles, dont Harnoncourt, qui les a coachées toutes les deux. Selon leur tessiture, elles s'épanouissent dans les virtuosités de Haendel ou de Vivaldi. Chacune à sa façon recrée les sortilèges irrémédiablement perdus du chant des castrats, ces chimères vocales mi-hommes, mi-anges, tout en libérant sur scène un tempérament explosif.

Panache Enfant de la balle, née de parents chanteurs, Cecilia a gagné ses galons de star très jeune ; Karajan l'invite à Salzbourg à 23 ans et la firme Decca devient très vite sa maison de disques et de conquêtes. Puis Daniel Barenboïm l'intègre dans sa trilogie Mozart-Da Ponte. En 1993, Claudio Abbado enregistre avec elle Rossini. Mais c'est à 33 ans, avec l'Album Vivaldi, qu'elle trouve sa voie et sa marque de fabrique. Moins précoce, Vivica Genaux trouve sa vocation au sein d'une famille mélomane à Fairbanks (Alaska). Son potentiel de mezzo se révèle tardivement, au cours de ses études de sciences. Claudia Pinza l'aide à progresser et, en 1997, la chance surgit avec un remplacement au pied levé au Met de New York pour le rôle de Rosine dans le Barbier de Rossini.

Voix Elles ont chacune dans la voix quelque chose de flamboyant, de profond et d'immédiatement fraternel. Un sourire projeté. La Bartoli démontre à chaque « disque concept » (CD + livre) l'étendue illimitée de ses capacités. «Elle tire le meilleur parti de la voix qu'on lui a donnée, s'extasie son partenaire, Bryn Terfel. C'est l'art vocal même.» De Vivica Genaux, son mentor baroque, Fabio Biondi, le violoniste chef de l'ensemble Europa Galante, dit qu'«elle réussit à se couler parfaitement dans l'extravagance vivaldienne, c'est-à-dire chanter comme un violon».

Métier Le ressort de leur dynamique : la gourmandise de vivre, une voix saine et une vie sentimentale apaisée, doublée d'un instinct musical très sûr. Et une vision carrée du métier de chanteuse. Ces anti-divas ont une vie tranquille, sans artifice, familiale et gaie, dopée par une curiosité sans limite. La connivence immédiate qu'elles installent avec leur public et leurs partenaires se fait jour à chacune de leurs apparitions.

Succès Déjà, il y a dix ans, son Album Vivaldi vendu à plus de un million d'exemplaires avait révélé le potentiel lyrique jusqu'alors méconnu du Prêtre roux. Le succès de son dernier opus, Sacrificium (Universal/Decca), hommage à l'école de Naples et à ses célèbres castrats, confirme que Cecilia Bartoli reste la plus populaire des mezzos. Sa réhabilitation historique de ces martyrs sacrifiés au nom de la musique et de l'interdiction des femmes dans les églises est aussi poignante que ses invraisemblables trilles. Sa discrétion sur les scènes lyriques (quelques représentations à Zurich, sa résidence, quelques apparitions prévues début 2010, entre autres, Salle Pleyel) ouvre le champ à des tempéraments comme celui de Vivica, qui n'aime rien tant que la scène pour s'y épanouir. En studio, après son premier coup d'éclat en 2001 avec une anthologie d'airs du célèbre castrat Farinelli, elle récidive aujourd'hui avec un bouquet de Pyrotechnics signés... Vivaldi (EMI).

Jardin secret Celui de Bartoli est bien réel : un potager aménagé dans sa résidence suisse ! Elle avoue s'y ressourcer au milieu des plans de tomates et de basilic, avant de plonger dans les bibliothèques pour concocter les programmes dont elle garde le secret. Dans un autre registre, sa passion pour la Malibran ne sera pas restée longtemps discrète avec un récent hommage aussi somptueux qu'exubérant, n'hésitant pas à montrer dans un bus-musée itinérant la collection personnelle d'objets lui ayant appartenu. De son côté, c'est à Pauline Viardot, la sœur de la Malibran, l'égérie de Tourgueniev, de Bizet et de tant d'autres, que Genaux rêve de rendre justice en révélant la beauté de ses compositions. En attendant, cette Italienne (tiens, tiens...) d'adoption - elle a épousé en 2001 un hydrologue vénitien - savoure les voluptés du bel canto, qu'elle va bientôt chanter en France.»

sexta-feira, 11 de dezembro de 2009

quinta-feira, 10 de dezembro de 2009

Carmen alla Scala '09 - III - Carmen, elle-même la Star de la soirée


(Anita Rachvelishvili, mezzo-soprano georgiano, como Carmen)

Para o
The New York Times, o triunfo desta Carmen deveu-se, justamente, à protagonista, Anita Rachvelishvili! Se o equilibrio reinou, vocalmente, já no tocante à mise-en-scène...

«
In a country where the prime minister may soon be facing actual criminal charges, that remark, like many of Mr. Zeffirelli’s own extravagant opera productions, was over the top, although Ms. Dante did lay it on too thick with the Roman Catholic symbolism. Religious processions and mourners roamed the stage as if having wandered in from the cathedral a block away, and a priest wearing a big, black Father Guido Sarducci hat held Mass and followed around the chaste Micaëla like a lawyer with his client. This was all interjected to drive home some already obvious point about the opera’s pitting conformity versus liberty.








quarta-feira, 9 de dezembro de 2009

Carmen alla Scala '09 - II - O Triunfo de Baremboim



Segundo reza esta interessantíssima leitura do El Pais, a Carmen do alla Scala, pour une fois, deveria designar-se Daniel, tal não foi a ovação suscitada pela direcção orquestral do grande, grande argentino!

«Tras la representación, hubo un cuarto de hora de encendidas aclamaciones y protestas. Las primeras centradas en lo musical, las segundas fundamentalmente en lo escénico. No hay ningún espectáculo en el mundo que levante las pasiones de la ópera. En la inauguración de La Scala llegan al límite. Daniel Barenboim fue el gran triunfador. Dirigió Carmen con una fuerza dramática impresionante. En su afán de reivindicar musicalmente una Carmen mestiza, cuyas influencias se reparten entre España, Francia, Cuba y el África negra, su mirada recaló en el espíritu de la tragedia griega. Tiempos generalmente lentos, contrastes extremos, énfasis en los sentimientos desgarrados, recreación de los mitos en tanto héroes. Barenboim se echó a las espaldas el peso musical y el teatral. Su lectura fogosa está cargada de pasión. Nos pareció que escuchábamos "otra" Carmen, o tal vez que la redescubríamos con una sensibilidad de nuestro tiempo. La orquesta y coro de La Scala tuvieron una prestación excepcional.

La directora de escena Emma Dante levantó una encendida división de opiniones que, al fin y al cabo, demuestra que la ópera está viva, pues sigue sacudiendo los sentimientos del espectador. La palermitana debutaba en el género lírico, al que ha llegado con un enorme prestigio como directora de teatro. Tuvo momentos de absoluta genialidad y en otros le perdió el exceso. Situó la ópera en un territorio de predominio siciliano y, en cualquier caso, mediterráneo. El intento de universalidad era manifiesto, dentro de una geografía del Sur. Su lectura estuvo físicamente llena de energía -qué diabólica escena coral en la taberna de Lillas Pastia-, manejó a las mil maravillas el movimiento colectivo y supo crear atmósferas de intimidad para los importantes dúos o de dinamismo en el comienzo del cuarto acto llenando la escena de inquietantes exvotos. Algunos detalles innecesarios e inútiles -la parturienta con sus convulsiones, las cigarreras-monjas, la insistencia en una visión religiosa casi caricaturesca- hicieron que la concentración se atenuase. Lástima. Quiso decir demasiadas cosas. Su grupo de actores Sud Costa Occidentale tuvo una actuación prodigiosa. El trabajo de Richard Peduzzi como escenógrafo fue de gran maestría en su desnudez conceptual.

De los cantantes destacaría al tenor Jonas Kaufmann, por flexibilidad y fraseo, aunque la gran triunfadora fue la georgiana de 25 años Anita Rachvelishvili. Cantó, en efecto, impecablemente, aunque sin ese punto de fascinación que el personaje de Carmen lleva asociado. El uruguayo Erwin Schrott fue un notable Escamillo y Adriana Damato una discreta Micaela.»

terça-feira, 8 de dezembro de 2009

Carmen alla Scala '09 - I

Como é hábito, a 7 de Dezembro, abre a temporada milanesa. Desta feita, Carmen foi a obra escolhida para a abertura do alla Scala.

Baremboim, uma vez mais, dirigiu a première, que contou com Anita Rachvelishvili, como protagonista, Jonas Kaufmann, na pele de Don José, Erwin Schrott, como Escamillo e Adriana Damato, como Micaela.

A encenação e guarda-roupa estiveram a cargo de Emma Dante, tendo os cenários a assinatura de Richard Peduzzi.

Por ora, centremo-nos nas imagens da récita inaugural…
As críticas virão a seu tempo.

























Amores recentes, em degustação...




sábado, 5 de dezembro de 2009

Objectos de desejo incontornável...



«L’objet pèse ses 2 bons kilos et annonce fièrement "l'intégralité des albums studio et live enregistrés par Miles Davis pour le label Columbia". Soit 70 CD pour 52 albums - il y a des albums doubles -, certains indisponibles depuis plusieurs années, présentés dans leurs pochettes d'origine, cartonnées, et pour un bon nombre d'entre eux accompagnés de prises différentes et de raretés. Prix en magasins et sur les sites de vente en ligne : de 170 à 180 euros.

Soyons clair, dans le secteur du jazz, la parution de Miles Davis : the Complete Columbia Album Collection fait son petit effet événementiel. Miles Davis est une star, et le soin général apporté à la réalisation de cet ensemble impressionnant montre qu'il est traité en conséquence.

Miles Davis et Columbia, c'est une longue histoire. Trente ans entre la première séance d'enregistrement du trompettiste pour la compagnie phonographique américaine, le 26 octobre 1955 à New York (avec John Coltrane), et la dernière, le 4 février 1985 au Easy Sound Studios de Copenhague (en principal soliste d'une composition pour grand orchestre de Palle Mikkelborg).

Trente ans durant lesquels Columbia donne toute liberté à Miles Davis, pour qui rien n'est trop beau. Il enregistre en grand orchestre avec Gil Evans, les pochettes de ses disques sont sophistiquées, de 1968 à 1975, il a studio ouvert jour et nuit.»

Poucas recomendações...




«Yet the real problem with the cycle as a whole is the very variable quality of the singing. Of all the live Bayreuth Rings I've heard from the stereo era, beginning with the glorious Keilberth set from the mid-1950s, available on Testament, this is the least distinguished vocally, and only three singers, Andrew Shore as Alberich, Gerhard Siegel as Mime and Eva-Maria Westbroek as a radiant-sounding Sieglinde, emerge from it with reputations enhanced. Albert Dohmen's Wotan is efficient, though gruff and curmudgeonly; Hans-Peter König's Hagen is so beautifully sung he almost sounds cuddly, which won't do at all. Linda Watson's Brünnhilde is secure enough but her tone is sometimes thin, tremulous and never remotely moving, while Stephen Gould's Siegfried is unattractively raw-edged, and in Götterdämmerung especially, his intonation is very suspect. Whether the quality of Thielemann's conducting outweighs these significant shortcomings is down to personal taste; for me it doesn't.»

Em degustação

Opera Kitsch & Sexy


Ossia, discretamente, de olhos postos nas linhas vocais de La Netrebko.

quarta-feira, 2 de dezembro de 2009

Lucia della Desolazione


(DECCA 410 193-2)

Mau grado a presença de um elenco notável – a fina flor da época (1970’s): Ghiaurov, Milnes e Pavarotti -, e uma direcção enérgica e expressiva, esta Lucia peca pela desolação artística da protagonista. Sutherland, apesar de já bem oleada no papel (que recriava amiúde), oferece uma interpretação desoladora, dramaticamente inexistente.

Joan Sutherland – actriz medíocre, embora uma cantora perfeita, de técnica sem paralelo – anima a sua “incarnação” socorrendo-se, apenas, de uma veia soubrette.

Uma Lucia soubrette (ou leggera) é como um Don Giovanni feio, mastronço e deselegante.

Um desastre artístico protagonizado pela Senhora Sutherland, que os colegas distintíssimos minimizam.


____________
* * * * *
(3/5)

terça-feira, 1 de dezembro de 2009

Isabel Colbran - II, ossia Joyce Colbran, for sure!

(Virgin 50999 6945790 6)

Isabella Colbran (1785-1845) foi uma ilustre cantora lírica de inícios do século XIX. À época, a fogosa espanhola era A prima Donna do San Carlo, em Nápoles. Rossini não resistiu aos múltiplos encantos, artísticos e carnais, da espanhola, célebre pelas três oitavas de extensão vocal e magistral talento dramático.

(retrato de Isabella Colbran)

Rossini escreveu algumas das mais célebres óperas sérias para, justamente, La Colbran - Elisabetta, regina d’Inghilterra (1815), Otello ( 1816 ), Armida (1817), Mosè in Egitto, Ricciardo e Zoraide (1818), Ermione, La donna del lago (1819), Maometto II (1820), Zelmira (1822) e Semiramide (1823).

O presente registo constitui uma homenagem à grande Isabella Colbran. Refira-se que, em inícios dos anos 1990, a também imensa Cecilia Bartoli decidiu homenagear a diva espanhola - como aqui referi. À época, o registo de Bartoli fez história, constituindo a mais extraordinária colectânea de árias rossinianas sérias de que há memória.

Perto de vinte anos volvidos sobre o superlativo Rossini Heroines, eis o contributo de Joyce Didonato para a revitalização do repertório rossiniano sério.

Didonato é o maior mezzo ligeiro vivo, em plena ascendência. O seu trabalho consagrado a Handel é triunfal, pela disciplina, bravura e graciosidade. Joyce Didonato é, de igual modo, a mais destacada rossiniana da actualidade, particularmente requisitada pela cena lírica internacional. As suas Rosina e Angelina são absolutamente modelares. Deus a conserve, fresca e hábil, por muitos e bons anos, para que (entre outras) revisite a A Italiana e Fiorilla, de O Turco em Itália!

A grande intérprete americana brinda-nos, por via deste registo, com uma bravura heróica e despudorada, assente numa técnica infalível, sem mácula alguma. Respira com uma mestria impressionante e afronta o desafio sem temor nem subterfúgio. O timbre é amplamente colorido e a agilidade pirotécnica.

Como pérolas sumas deste trabalho destaco Armida (de sonho) – dilacerada e inflamada -, a majestosa Elisabetta e, sobretudo, a Elena rejubilante, porventura a mais incandescente que alguma vez conheci.

Para a história, indubitavelmente.

__________

* * * * * *

(6/5)

segunda-feira, 30 de novembro de 2009

Os Contos d'Offenbach


(cena d'Os Contos de Hoffmann - Met Opera House, estreia em Dezembro de 2009)

Barlett Sher assina a nova encenação d'Os Contos de Hoffmann (Offenbach), que o Met apresenta a 3 de Dezembro próximo. A propósito desta nova encenação, o artigo que cito do The New York Times refere aspectos biográficos interessantes do autor da ópera, que reproduzo:


«Offenbach, in real life, faced humiliation despite his seemingly perfect assimilation in France. Nicknamed the Little Jew in Cologne, where he was born in 1819, and at the Conservatory in Paris, where he moved in 1833, he was scorned for his gaunt appearance and shabby clothes and ridiculed for his heavy accent throughout his lifetime.



Despite all these efforts and the huge popularity of his many operettas in France, Offenbach often had to prove his allegiance. James Harding, in his biography of the composer, points out that during the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, French newspapers accused Offenbach of being a “Prussian at heart,” and German publications simultaneously mounted a campaign against him.


Hurt by the accusations, Offenbach contacted the French newspaper Le Figaro to defend his reputation. Though he had family and friends in Germany, he wrote, “I owe everything to France, and I would not think myself worthy of the name of Frenchman, which I have obtained through my work and my honorable standing, if I had made myself guilty of cowardice toward my first country.”


Offenbach was denied promotion to the next level in the Legion of Honor, and the personal attacks continued through the early 1870s. French detractors claimed that his opéras bouffes symbolized the frivolity that they believed had led to France’s defeat in the war. For a composer who longed to write weightier operas, this charge no doubt touched a sore nerve.


sábado, 28 de novembro de 2009

Isabel Colbran - I

Antes de uma leitura crítica do (magnífico) trabalho de Joyce Didonato, proponho que o leitor se debruce atentamente sobre uma já longínqua homenagem a Isabel Colbran, Heroines:


Elisabeth Söderström (1927-2009) - II



Sucedem-se as homenagens à grande Senhora da lírica, Elisabeth Söderström.

«I was once told a story about Söderström that may help to convey how her artistry burned. She was rehearsing the Countess Madeleine at Glyndebourne under John Pritchard. The contract with the orchestra meant that Pritchard had to stop the rehearsal on the dot, or else the musicians would start qualifying for overtime, which could not be afforded. The rehearsal went slowly, and had only reached part way through the magical closing scene for the soprano when the deadline was reached. In the pit, Pritchard promptly put down his baton. The orchestra stopped and began packing up. Söderström, in full flow and unprepared for the break, looked as if she had been physically struck down by the sudden end of the rehearsal. In tears, she refused to stop, and sang her part unaccompanied to the end.»


«Shortly after her debut, she joined the Swedish Royal Opera. She remained a member of that company until her retirement. In her early years she focused on soubrette roles, including Mozart heroines. Soon she was branching out dramatically. Her debut at the prestigious Glyndebourne Festival in England came in 1957 as the Composer in Strauss’s “Ariadne auf Naxos,” and for years she remained a favorite with the festival. Among Strauss singers, she was one of the few to have sung all three lead roles in “Der Rosenkavalier,” as the Marschallin, Octavian and Sophie.

A milestone in her career came in the 1969-70 season with the Royal Opera at Covent Garden in London, when she sang Mélisande in an acclaimed production of Debussy’s “Pelléas et Mélisande” conducted by Pierre Boulez, subsequently recorded. That Sony Classical recording, with George Shirley as Pelléas, is considered by many to be definitive.

Another series of landmark performances and recordings involved the Australian conductor Charles Mackerras, an informed champion of the Janacek operas. Ms. Soderstrom became Mr. Mackerras’s soprano of choice for his Decca label recordings of complete Janacek operas, including “Jenufa” and “Katya Kabanova,” with Ms. Soderstrom singing the title roles, and “The Makropulos Case,” a mysterious, haunting work in which Ms. Soderstrom portrayed, unforgettably, the 300-year-old Emilia Marty.»

sábado, 21 de novembro de 2009

Elisabeth Söderström (1927-2009)



A mais extraordinária intérprete de Janacek do pós-guerra - que sob a direcção de McKerras perpetuou as trágicas heroínas Jenufa e Kata, entre outras - entregou a alma ao criador, a 20 do corrente mês. Evidentemente, Söderström foi, de igual modo, uma das mais proeminentes intérpretes de Richard Strauss (Condessa) e Tchaikovsky (Tatiana) do século XX.

With her sensitive demeanour she was particularly successful at portraying the troubled women who abound in opera, such as Leonore (Fidelio), Tatyana in Tchaikovsky's Evgeny Onegin and the Countess in Richard Strauss's Capriccio, three of the roles with which she delighted audiences at Glyndebourne, where she achieved her most notable successes in Britain.

She was born in Stockholm, the daughter of a Swedish naval captain and a Russian mother, and studied at the Royal Academy and Opera School there. She made her debut as early as 1947, when she was just 20, as Mozart's Bastienne, in the Drottningholm Court Theatre. Thereafter she joined the Swedish Royal Opera, of which she remained a member through the rest of her career. Her roles there stretched from Monteverdi's Nero (Poppea) through Mozart's Countess Almaviva (in Figaro, one of her most palpitating portrayals), Strauss's Octavian and Marschallin (both in Der Rosenkavalier) to Janacek's Jenufa.

At the Royal Opera, she also loved playing the Governess in Britten's The Turn of the Screw and Marie in Berg's Wozzeck, two further distressed women. But she also revelled in lighter things, such as Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus and Saffi in the same composer's Zigeunerbaron. She sang many of her roles both in Swedish and in the original.

ln 1955 she made her debut at the Salzburg Festival, as the boy Ighino in Pfitzner's Palestrina. She first appeared at Glyndebourne in 1957, as the Composer in Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos, and in 1963-64 she was much admired there as Elisabeth Zimmer in Henze's Elegy for Young Lovers. She made her debut at Covent Garden in 1960, with the Royal Swedish Opera as Daisy Doody in Blomdahl's Aniara and as Morgana in Handel's Alcina. She returned there, with the resident company, as Octavian and as an unforgettable Mélisande (1969-70) under Pierre Boulez (a role that she recorded with him).

Her Metropolitan Opera debut was as Susanna (Figaro) in 1959, followed by Strauss's Sophie, which meant she had undertaken all three of the women's roles in Der Rosenkavalier, once joking that she would now have to undertake Baron Ochs. She continued to appear in New York for the following four seasons. One of her later roles, that of the 300-year-old Emilia Marty in Janacek's The Makropulos Case was undertaken with, among others, Welsh National Opera, an unforgettable experience, also seen in London. She wonderfully conveyed the woman's emotional cynicism and eventual boredom at having lived so long. She followed that with the old Countess in Tchaikovsky's The Queen of Spades, showing that she could still command complete attention even with reduced resources.

Söderström often sang in concerts: she appeared at the Royal Festival Hall, London, and in the recording studio with Otto Klemperer in Beethoven's Missa Solemnis. She was also an accomplished recitalist, singing a wide repertory, but particularly happy in the songs of Sibelius, which she recorded complete in the company of the pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy. She always delighted her audiences by introducing specific items with her peculiar blend of fey charm and assumed naïveté, nowhere more successfully than with Mussorgsky's Nursery cycle. She was also an engaging broadcaster, and often regaled Radio 3 and 4 audiences in Britain with her experiences in her career, always replete with a veritable book of anecdotes.

From 1993 to 1996 she was director of the Drottningholm Palace Theatre, where she had started her career. In retirement, she became an accomplished giver of master-classes, passing on her knowledge of singing and acting to a new generation. She leavened her lessons with a good deal of the humour and general bonhomie for which she was noted.

Söderström was one of the most distinguished artists of her generation. The combination of a charming, yet elusive personality, very Swedish in character, with her vibrant voice and sincere acting enhanced all her portrayals, and while she was as happy deploying them on comedy as on drama, it is undoubtedly for her interpretations of the heroines in the operas of Tchaikovsky, Richard Strauss and Janacek that she will be longest remembered.

As a person, she was the soul of kindness, had a ready wit and was never more at home than when taking part in lively conversation. Colleagues and friends alike were treated generously. In the opera house, she could be demanding, wanting others to meet her own high standards, but she was always cooperative with directors she trusted, and with them she was willing to work as hard and as long as it took to create a result full of inner meaning.

In 1950 she married Sverker Olow, and they had three sons.

John Amis writes: When Elisabeth was invited to make her debut in New York at the Metropolitan Opera, she took all three of her sons with her for the season. When they got to school age, she gave up New York and rejoined the Royal Opera in Stockholm. This was typical of her approach to a happy marriage, and to being both a wife and a mother.

By that point being rather older than many of her colleagues, she developed the knack of being an elder sister to them and coaching them at rehearsals. She excelled in masterclasses, partly through her eternal good nature, but also because she always sought to encourage her students to give their best; at the same time she delighted her audience without ever buttering her own ego (as many masterclass teachers do).

Elisabeth giggled and laughed a lot, but that only seemed to complement the essential seriousness of her devotion to her art. Sometimes she would point out to people who implied that a singer's life was an easy one, how hard it could be. "Sweat, phlegm and dirty feet is often what its about," she would say. "What do we do all day when not rehearsing? We memorise and that takes up a lot of time, all part of the job. And so is winding down after a performance."

Coming from a country whose language is comparatively remote from most of the repertoire meant that Elisabeth very often would sing operas and lieder in several languages. Some of the Janacek operas, for example, she sang in the original Czech, and also in German, English and Swedish.

She was the least divaish diva that you could meet. There was no side to her whatsoever. She was a thoroughly good person, a good friend, good wife, good mother, good humoured and a very attractive woman.

Sometimes she had a hard time of it. In Janacek's Jenufa once her heel caught in a hole in a floorboard: broken knee. Another time in Offenbach's La Périchole, she took a dive nearly into the orchestral pit: bad back. Deputising, she was manhandled in the last scene of an unfamiliar version of Gounod's Faust in which Marguérite does not get wafted to heaven, but bundled down to hell: broken arm.

Elisabeth wrote an informative and very readable little book, In My Own Key (1979), and in the photographs of her in various roles you can usually guess which role she was playing just by her facial expression, whether it was Tatyana, Leonore, The Governess, Mélisande, Katya Kabanova or the Marschallin or Octavian in Rosenkavalier. She was amazingly different in each part.

At Glyndebourne, we regulars idolised the singer Serna Jurinac, who left Sussex in 1956 when her marriage broke up, leaving her husband Sesto Bruscantino to sing there by himself. We heard that there was some unknown Swedish singer coming to sing Sena's roles, and we all hated her in advance. But as soon as she sang the Composer in Strauss's Ariadne, our hatred turned to love and adoration. The Swede was of course Elisabeth Söderström.»