Alcina (16 January 2015, Moscow webcast)
Crucial to this concert performance: earrings are all the rage on Alcina’s island and Vorrei vendicarmi is so much better in leather trousers. Many thanks to chief Alcina-head thadieu for signalling it!
Alcina: Inga Kalna
Ruggiero: Vivica Genaux
Bradamante: Patricia Bardon
Morgana: Anna Devin
Oronte: Benjamin Hulett
Oberto: Alina Yarovaya
Melisso: Oleg Tsybulko
Conductor: Federico Maria Sardelli | Intrada Vocal Ensemble, State Chamber Orchestra of Russia
Moscow Philarmonic Society Webcast
Overture: not as warm without period instruments but good commitment from the orchestra
O s’apre al riso: here’s the London Oberto, singing Morgana; not bad; needs better zing and perhaps more support (?)
choir interlude: pretty good, a bit behind Sardelli? nice tone but not exactly happy-delirious
dance interlude: good, gentle, finally happy in the third movement
Di, cor mio: where’s Ruggiero?! Kalna’s singing it to no one in particular but she’s feelin’ it, nice floated notes, no amazing tone but very convincing singing
Oberto’s boring aria: quite nicely sung, good use of dynamics, supportive harpsi + cello; not so boring after all
Di te mi rido: great accompaniato but not very sarcastic in intention (maestro), VG into it for sure, needs more sarcasm, lots of coloratura to navigate – needs to be more expressive; rather neat vocal gymnastics on the last mancar (di fe)
well acted interplay between Morgana, Oronte and Bradamante
E gelosia!: Bardon rocking it in leather’n’boots (how could any Bradamante have done it any other way before?!), nice cello on merce before the da capo
Semplicetto, a donna credi: very playful orchestra, more projection needed from Mr. Oronte, nice thick tone but I’d like more zing, lotsa mugging to the camera which I liked, pretty neat support from orchestra on che si mira, che sospira.
Si son quella: here’s where the battle of the earrings starts, beautiful cello, sensitively done by Kalna
La bocca vaga: not bad, VG of course into it. Mum came in and I asked her if she could tell what the mood of this aria was. She thought Ruggiero was laughing at Bradamante and Melisso because they believed in love.
Ruggiero/Bradamante/Morgana recit: explaining to my mum the relationships between the characters = priceless:
me (pointing at singers): she (Morgana) just fell in love with her (Bradamante). She’s thinking Bradamante is a he, because she’s disguised as a man, but Bradamante is a she even though she’s singing lower than Ruggiero – I mean she (VG), who’s singing a he.
mum: the synopsis must be longer than the opera
Tornami a vagheggiar: lovely, gentle, good acting from Devin (she put out a hell of a lot of energy throughout), nice da capo/winds mix. The public loved it so much they got their clap on before the orchestra finished 😉
Ruggiero’s omg, I been duped sorta-aria: good confusion from VG, great “reality check” feel from the strings
Pensa a chi geme d’amor, aka Melisso’s badarse aria: abandonata! crudel, da te (you know you want to sing it); not bad, nice tone, maybe needs more darkness, lovely accompaniment the low strings
Ruggiero freaks out some more when Bradamante reveals her identity – un novelo incanto?! – VG is good at confusion
Vorrei vendicarmi: orchestra needs more venom, Bardon’s trousers mean business, neat detail on coloratura, heartwarming in the B section, propely venomous on repeat
Mi lusinga il dolce affetto aka, the power of ooh-oohs: kinda great (does this one have a B section? it’s sad throughout; ok, it’s where Ruggiero gets a bit more manly – not that emphasised here), cool kitchen sink ornaments, lovely pianissime. I’m not much of a VG fan but she had my complete attention here. I was generally much in favour of her ornaments throughout the evening.
Ama, sospira: great violin, internet fail for the rest of it 😦
Ah, cor mio: thank god it’s a long one! My connection reconnected about 1/3 into it. IK knows how to sing and make it unforgettable. Great job negotiating the rollercoaster of moods, really gorgeous per ches (I stopped breathing along with her), vivid pause between the end of the B section and the realisation that she’s lost him. Has she sung Vitellia? I want to see/hear more of her in these kinds of dramatic roles of the lyric repertoire.
Oronte’s second aria: err, I needed a bit of breather after that marathon of emotion…
Verdi prati: solid but didn’t make as much of an impression as Mi lusinga. I guess I hadn’t got my bearings after Ah, cor mio. But then:
Alcina is shattered/majorly pissed off, aka Ombre pallide: dear god, IK can definitely sing/keep your attention. Ah, cor mio x 2. Major waterworks chez dehggi into the bowl of homemade potato salad (hey, I was out all day and made it home 5min before the show started). Too many great arias, too little time to get one’s breath, Mr. Handel. You expanded on the mad bit from Furie terribilli for the furious part, didn’t you?
Very well drilled orchestra, great timing.
Credete al mio dolore: lovely cello accompaniment
Un momento di contento: quite a lovely-bittersweet rendition of one of my favourite Alcina arias. But then I kinda like ’em all.
Ma quando tornerai: clipped, venomous A section = great, reminds me a bit of Auger’s version. But generally speaking, IK reminds me (in her stage manner) of Roschmann.
Sta nell’Ircana: very quick tempo and the horns are modern (maybe for the better) but neat ornaments (although not the last one) from VG; vocally she needs more power. I like that she’s definitely into it.
All’alma fedel aka Bradamante’s one boring-ish aria: Bardon “the redeemer” makes it very neat
Me restano le lagrime: slightly more subdued, still vintage IK Alcina
choral interlude: neat
Barbara!: girl has ‘tude, nice projection when needed
Non e amor ne gelosia: hells yea, really good meshing the three of them, not enough applause for this exciting trio done right.
I had a ball. I don’t know that it was the best Alcina ever (not my favourite voice for Oronte; the tempi felt a bit funny on occasion, sometimes too quick, sometimes too slow, Ruggiero needs a bit of tweaking as does Morgana) but I couldn’t tear myself from it. In conclusion I think it’s officially my second favourite opera.
Like I said, I was very impressed with Kalna’s interpretation – there are so many sides to Alcina and she was on it time and again – Bardon’s directness in singing and interpretation and Genaux’s ornaments and Mi lusinga. As soon as it ended I wanted it to start over. Luckily, there’ll be more in February 😀