Thursday’s Something Else (Calleja/Penda recital 2013)
This recital was one of the things I found buried deep in the dehggi vault. I vaguely remember getting this boot because I liked what I had heard from Calleja and I wanted to hear more. Alex Penda is one of those strange birds – to me – that seems to sing everything and puzzles me by doing so. So the something else part is mostly in relation to her (and to the repertoire).
Joseph Calleja/ Alex Penda
Conductor: Massimiliano Murrali
Orchestra dell’ Accademia del Teatro alla Scala | Regentenbau Bad Kissingen, 26 March 2013
Il mio tesoro – Mozart isn’t the best option for Calleja’s soaring manly tenor.
Non piu di fiori – curious ornaments… curiously relaxed… I don’t think this Vitellia is falling apart. She’s not even properly annoyed, rather somewhat irked. Why did Jacobs think Sesto would kill for this Vitellia?
Una furtiva lagrima – lovely in its own way but a bit too… grown-up? for Nemorino.
Caro elisir! – neither is very playful or particularly suited for belcanto… Calleja, I love you, but could you sound any more serious on those tra lalalalalas? Lay off the high drama, both of you, this is a sweet and silly moment. That being said, I think Penda edged JC out in this duet. She swung that heavy sword of a voice more than I thought she could.
Addio del passato – consumptive? I think not. 2 months on I still remember Damrau’s too late! That was compelling. Penda’s isn’t. This is already an overly sentimental moment and she sounds even more so, if that’s possible. Not a good idea.
Parigi o cara – hm. Each did some neat things on their own but I still think they make an odd couple.
O don fatale – hm, those low notes are kinda woofy. She’s got the right drama but she’s a soprano, eh. And maybe she needed to step on the pedal for more drama. That Don Carlo is a hysterics fest from A to Z…
Pace, pace mio dio – ah, see, that was pretty good, especially the dramatic build-up just before maledizione.
Ma se m’e forza perderti – bit of a lame aria but given that Ballo is likely to be my first chance of seeing JC live… given that… it’s still lame. Beautiful tone.
Recondita armonia – see above, but slightly more bearable.
Love duet (Mario, Mario!…) – I don’t think there was much chemistry there…
Vissi d’arte – ok, that sounded much better. I know that because Vissi d’arte never captures my attention. This time I actually listened.
E lucevan le stelle – all around gorgeous but not the repertoire I listen to so what do I know? He does despondency really well.
I now like both of them a bit more and a bit less than before. Something else all right.