Sonia Prina (Wigmore Hall, 11 January 2018)

Sonia Prina contralto
Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin

George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)
Concerto Grosso in F major

Giovanni Ferrandini (1710-1791)
Cantata: Il pianto di Maria


This was a very well attended concert but in contrast to the JDD estravaganza, the mood was mostly relaxed. There was a certain buzz in the air, as if people had just started to catch on to Prina. Without a doubt her recent excursions in London have raised her status among Wiggy regulars.

A bit strangely, then, Prina showed up in a dress. I was caught unawares – she can dress however she wants but I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen her dressed so formally. But, you may say, how appropriate is it to sing Mary’s lament other than formally dressed?

Perhaps to fit that mood and the fact that the show was broadcast live on BBC3, the Akademie sounded on the formal side of excellent. No doubt about their technical prowess and Baroque-ness.

Ferrandini’s Pianto di Maria seems popular among mezzos and contraltos but not so much with me. Prina decided on a very operatic take, with the dramatic turns energetically emphasised and the recit parts done with lots of fervour. I felt a bit of sameness of sound on the low end in spite of it all, so I think I prefer a higher or brighter tone if I have to listen to this piece at all.

Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Cantata: Widerstehe doch der Sünde BWV54

Pietro Antonio Locatelli (1695-1764)
Concerto Grosso in E flat ‘Il Pianto d’Arianna’ Op. 7 No. 6

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
Longe mala, umbrae, terrores RV629


But who may abide (Messiah)
Longe mala, umbrae, terrores RV629

After the interval we had the rather unusual chance to hear Prina sing in German. At least to my ears she did a very good job and I finally perked up.

Unsurprisingly my favourite moment of the night was Vivaldi’s Longe mala…, where I think Prina sounded most comfortable. Perhaps that was the reason why she also capped the night with it, much to my delight. The Akademie let their hair down a bit and matched her to perfection in the endless runs, which she of course took with much gusto. During the intermission I overheard a wry attendee do an uncanny and amusing impression of Prina’s very personal way with coloratura, so the above-mentioned runs brought a smile to my face in spite of the rough patch I went through the week before.

She returned to much applause with a “belated Christmas gift”, which turned out ot be But who may abide. It once again gave her the opportunity to shake the stage up during the energetic b-section. So a more sober encounter than usual but a Prina show is always warm and full of life and the public feels it and responds accordingly.

About dehggial

Mozart/Baroque loving red dragon

Posted on January 30, 2018, in baroque, live performances, mezzos & contraltos, wigmore hall and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. You don’t happen to have a curtain call picture (with dress 🙂 )?
    Very interesting you found the band to be more on the formal side, because I found them quite impressive in the broadcast, very energetic and fresh while still keeping precision.
    The Bach was very intriguing to me, quite an operatic approach in this as well! Overall much more exciting than the Ferrandini to me, I guess I’m somewhere in the middle between your and t’s extreme opinions about this piece in general 🙂
    Her coloratura are really quite something…I guess she wouldn’t mind people imitating this, much better than them getting bored.

  2. Claude Lucbernet Sivewright

    Thank you who ever you are for your review on January 11th concert at Wigmore Hall ( what’s that wiggis abot???) SoniaPrina ( not Prina) I like very much and she could sing the times news paper as far as i’m concern! There’s mot enough contraltos in the circuit and now that Ewa Podles has retired what can one say? !!!!!As for the Akademie orchestra they could ‘kind of relax a bit ( without being goofy!) I was first row ( as always I might had!) and the violinist ( as good as she was) near me never ever cracked her face not even during the applause directed at all of them!

    • Agreed about them relaxing 🙂 and glad you enjoyed th writeup. Wiggy is what my buddies and I affectionately call Wigmore Hall. There is a good number of contraltos on the circuit, though, and most if not all are very high calibre.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: