Midweek mezzo distractions for yours truly lazy

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Today’s Le concert de l’après-midi on France Musique was Vesselina Kasarova’s Dusseldorf lieder recital from earlier this year. Yay! I feel a bit better, as the Paris recital1 was going to be similar. I liked the sound of her Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky even better than her Schumann and Brahms. Russian wistfulness… I wouldn’t mind an entire recital of that. I seem to be getting lyrical in my “old age”.

Extras:

two traditional Bulgarian songs: I wasn’t acquainted with her Bulgarian stuff but it turned out to be some of the best in the programme – so-lyrical-it’s-abstract kinda thing (for lack of vocabulary on my part).

Con l’ali di constanza: I don’t really rate her Ariodante but I do love her version of this aria2. Some statement to her wide emotional palette that she can convey delirious joy as well as deep melancholy. I can’t decide which one she’s better at. Anyway, I love how the coloratura starts about 3 seconds in and pretty much doesn’t stop. Good job Rémond for picking it.

three Moravian duets (by Dvořák) with Grubi: they always sound good together, like two gingerbread people on the Christmas tree 😉

Smanie implacabili!: I confess I don’t get her Dorabella. It’s not funny3, she’s like (straight-up) OMGOMGOMG!!!! Maybe I need to expand my horizons in regards to Dorabella? I am rather glib about Così, I always expect it to be “an uproarious romp” and dismiss any possibility of deeper feeling. I found it interesting that out of everything else on her Mozart album Rémond picked this one. I was crossing my fingers for her excellent Il tenero momento but I guess my powers of telepathically influencing radio programmes were fuzzy today 😉

… that’s pretty much what I did all day. I just remembered I forgot to book tickets to Un ballo in maschera. Ooops. Can I be bothered?


  1. The performance I unluckily had a ticket to and which was cancelled along with the entire Lundis Musicaux season… I’m not bitter. 
  2. I like Con l’ali… even better than Dopo notte. Ariodante arias quick chart: Con l’ali di constanza, Dopo notte, Polinesso stuff, Scherza, infida, other arias. Bonus: it’s a great workout tune. For those days when I’m not lazy. 
  3. After paying attention to it for 5 times in a row I think maybe it is funny and it’s my sense of humour that needs a bit of sharpening. Maybe I just confused myself :-D 
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About dehggial

opera lover with a predilection for Mozart and Baroque

Posted on October 22, 2014, in mezzos & contraltos and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 15 Comments.

  1. I know several people who would strongly suggest you become acquainted with her Bulgarian stuff forthwith. This is a good place to start ….. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ab8O49umkcs

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  2. just done my most refreshing hour in whole week listening to this program. quite love her lieder.. she gave a similar program 2 years ago and it sounds quite different! very interesting to compare/contrast too.
    also, it’s quite interesting hearing extracts from her early cd’s because you can hear such a huge contrast between live vs recording, now vs earlier voices..

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    • her lieder is really lovely. Did you say she was singing more next year? I will make another special effort if that’s the case 😉

      you’re right, she’s one of them whose voice has changed a lot over the years. Her interpretations have too. I was listening to that ’92 Tancredi you posted on youtube and you can tell even by 1996 she was already better at interpretation. But she always sounds a lot freer live.

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      • “Her interpretations have too”
        this is what i love the most actually, and in fact even from performance to performance within 1 run you can sometimes see it while she’s adjusting to what the soprano is doing :-). think i wrote a couple of times in fact, but one is always curious what you will hear/see/feel when she’s singing live, so there’s always a sense of excitement.. it might not work for you at all, but the fact is she always gives you things to think about, even to add to the pocket of life as possibilities in seeing/understanding things differently. This recital is so refreshing for me in that sense, coz i heard the one from 2 years ago and really had a hard time at the beginning digesting the sound.. even to the point of thinking twice if i would come to hear her singing lieder! but she pretty much gave me the answer here, regardless, i’d come, and it would be quite an experience feeling alive with eyes wide open following along her story-telling process.

        this “hesitation” after hearing her is not the first time i feel. in fact after my experience in Alcina in Wien (where i really had to work hard to digest her sound and acting, coz mainly i was very new to the scene..), but subsequently i finally truly understood the point about making music, after catching her live-live and live-internet in succession capuleti, then la mort de cleopatre, then il pianto di maria. was a life transformation experience :-).

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        • cool story 😉 as you can see in this post, I don’t always agree with her choices (or get them) but I do find it refreshing that she tries different things from other singers and even from herself. That’s what an artist should do.

          You know I only saw her live in Capuleti so far but I still do remember Romeo’s duet with Tebaldo vividly (she was properly vicious, eh heh). I have acquired a few of her Capuletis since and each of them is different 😀 Reminds me I should write about some of these Capuletis.

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      • i back, after sitting through another round of it in the office. have to say i really like this düsseldorf’s version. but it must be because i now much more familiar w/ Lieder than 2 years ago.. esp. a couple of them i’ve sat through masterclass (one with andreas scholl and one with marilyn horne!) so much more understanding of the text too (in memory..) and the russian bit really sinking in more..

        anyhow, i came by to say that i was staring at this post this morning simply because the picture strikes me as very interesting! i went backpacking in scotland this past summer and saw mannnny sheeps in the rolling field just like that, but there was no single one on its back! why?? 😀

        and yes, i also noticed how much her interpretation of Tancredi has changed since the freshly learned version in 1992… but never gotten around to listen to the “live” version in NY coz somehow the post on YT is giving me major headache from sound quality… is there an improved recording?

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        • Scottish sheep aren’t lazy 😉 did you see the hairy cows, though?

          I don’t know if there’s a better quality version of the NYC Tancredi, as I haven’t also collected all her Tancredis… yet. There are so many things to get! I wish she sang it again these days with the lower voice…

          Attending a lieder masterclass improved things for me as well. Before that I couldn’t really find my way around the whole thing. Masterclasses are actually really good for me as a non-singer, just to get a better idea of what a singer is trying to do.

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          • no i was thinking more they were not curious, coz how else can they see the cumulous cloud!
            hairy cows? no we only had 1 cow experience.. a mother staring us down while guarding her young, and she was blocking the only path… so we quietly plowed forward head-down in single file coming very close to her, sloshing in the mud with heavy pack while she stood on high knob following our moves.. but all alive with a good laugh after..
            ah ok, i got confused, you said 1996, must be her recording? Barbara Bonney is coming to give a masterclass here next month!! i was planning to attend both evenings.. but turned out away for one, luckily not both, else i’d be swearing.. those masterclasses are really amazing for me too. not only singer, but sometimes hearing a bit of what they think the composers have in mind.. i must say though, i was super enthusiastic with andreas scholl’s class but didn’t quite agree with some of the things the legendary Marilyn Horne said!! (clearly there’s a reason she’s legendary and i’m not :D, but i think really it’s much more about the cultural gap with me not being american.. and his is all about the composers, the style, techniques, students.. and hers is so much about her!)

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            • The sheep are probably pretending to be busy grazing when there are humans around 😉

              yea, I was talking about the Tancredi recording. I only have that one and what you posted on youtube.

              I’d love to go to a BB masterclass, she sounds very approachable and thoughtful. I’m going to JDD’s in April so far. I’d go to a MH one, as well, even if it’s about her. Hell, I’d go to one by any of my fave singers and even not so fave ones. When I started listening to opera I just raided all the masterclasses posted on youtube. Must say some singers are rather poor at masterclasses, haha.

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              • it reminded me of another legendary Brigitte Fassbaender’s masterclass where i thought i’d not manage to learn if i attended :D, mainly because she talked about “feeling” (something.. i can’t remember now) or MH’s points of “use it, don’t waste it, you are wasting the note, use it”. I’m guessing a demonstration of “how” to use the space and time of the note would be more helpful for me coz i could tell the students would repeat the exact same way and she repeated again: “don’t waste it, use it” :-). But there’re several layers of course, mostly if as a student you can already understand what is being said to you.. and more importantly you spend the time exploring what it meant to “feel” something (VK said it in some interview i think, that that’s something that can’t be taught but you just have to go home and do it (for a few years??) to gauge what it all means..) in the end, we all can agree some people can be brilliant in what they do but not as effective teachers while others who have struggled more can see where all problems are… I just saw, i could pay 250 EUR and send in a CD of my singing (!!!! :D) to attend Sara Mingardo’s class next month (but you have to qualify first, ack! :p)

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                • oh yea, there will be things that go over head if you’re not a singer. I suppose the things they have to “feel” have something to do with the way sound is produced and that you can’t get unless you actually do it yourself. And even then I think you won’t get it the first time around.

                  actually when I went to her masterclass BF talked a lot about how to interpret the text and how to get into the mood of the piece, how to use the colours of the voice to paint a mental picture for the listener, it really wasn’t technical (or I don’t remember the bits that went over my head…). I still have the way she said “dunkel, wie dunkel” stuck in my head 😉

                  you could send a CD of you singing or you could just show up after class and ask SM if she wanted to join you for coffee 😀

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  3. hiding in here, to say if you can find VK’s fb site (it’s availble to public, just search for her name and facebook in combo on google?), she’s now recording sections of rehearsal for fans 🙂 , of the concert last night, Monteverdi’s Lasciatemi morire.. , i have decided not to link outside anymore coz last time i did so she took the video off, not sure if just a coincidence..

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