Vesselina Kasarova in Mannheim

cost of flight = $$$, cost of hectic planning = 2 gray hairs, experience Kasarova's Scherza Infida live = priceless

cost of flight = $$$, cost of hectic planning = 2 gray hairs, experience Kasarova’s Scherza Infida live = priceless

put it down, I have finally heard Vesselina Kasarova sing “Scherza infida” live, i can live happy! I read once a blog post a long time ago asking the question whether it was justified the effort to come to her recital where she only sang this single aria.. after much analysis the the blogger’s conclusion was a sounding “yes”. Here, not only we get that, but also *twice!!* “Sta nell’ircana”, along with 3 mozart arias (though none of which i recognized.) First let me file a personal “complaint” that it was still too short! In fact, after hearing the first phrase of “Scherza infida”, i want: a WHOLE “ariodante”, all arias. THEN, i want all Alcina’s arias, then “Il pianto di Maria”, then just “Agnus Dei” from Rossini’s petite mess solennelle, and capping it off with “Deh per questo instante solo” 😀 . Ok, now done with wish-list, back to the first aria. From 2nd row, i left to ponder how it is that she managed to express the music soo well.. simply mind bogglingly descriptive, you get Ariodante’s desperation, even you yourself becoming Ariodante and wanting to just jump off the cliff! Along the ride, i, myself separated from Ariodante, couldn’t help but feel a sense of bitterness that she’s not singing Ariodante anymore… that’s too bad for us listeners, coz you know I’d show up for two, three weeks, however long such a run would be..

From our seats she was completely out of sight behind the conductor. So eventhough sound traveled superbly to the ears, missing her expression was unacceptable. So while orchestra tuned, yours truly promptly climbed over chairs to 1st row right in front of her, JUST in time for full force “Sta nell’ircana”. WOW, the amount of energy that goes into sustaining the force, what a sight. The first violinist was GREAT. I simply amazed how easy VK made it look & sound while still having great fun time jiving along with the orchestra. It ranks up there, the experience seeing Kasarova from front row singing Händel :-). To be honest i was wondering myself a bit what i’m doing booking flight to europe for just 1 (or 2, 2nd canceled..) recital. Anyhow, by the 2nd phrase of Scherza infida the answer was obvious. Watching her jiving also brings back tons of memory of the great Alcina in Wien time, ah…
Right, so, some orchestral work filled in in between, some Vivaldi something, a full Mozart’s something (1st movement is famous from the movie Amadeus, last 3 movements are familiar coz that was what i was listening to while studying during undergrad time..). Then she came out for 3 mozart arias, none of which i knew, but i love particularly the 1st and 3rd, hmm may be 2nd as well.. argh the trouble of not knowing what she sings! Anyhow, below is the schedule for you to browse through. A friend mentioned online that she was to sign autograph after concert! Perfect chance to ask for schedule! But before that, we clapped and clapped and clapped away and she came out for an encore.. except it seemed there was no more music, i guessing the orchestra doesn’t normally play her repertoire or there was no practice time together, so she gave us a 2nd run of Sta nell’ircana, after making charming comments in German I can’t understand though can guess something to do with singing that in a beautiful red dress.. By this time, ToveS and her gf had succeeded in climbing over to 1st row too and joining me jiving along with VK and orchestra. soooooo much fun. Oh, she also smiled widely at us in front row of course.

So i did ask her TONS of questions during autograph time: first flashing off my ticket which printed “Massachusetts” on it while mentioning i just flew in from Boston this morning! Not to be outdone, she smiled: “I flew in from Tokyo!” can’t beat that :-).
td: would you have a detailed schedule for the next whole year that we fans can use to plan when to come to your concerts?
VK: (looking quite perplexed before realizing what I was asking) No, sorry, i don’t have that, i don’t do that (making typing motion, implying not on internet, arrrgh).
td: will you sing Händel again? more baroque and sacred music please?
VK: yes, but only in concert form.
td: I still hope that one day you will come to Boston to sing!
VK: may be!
td: you know we have the Boston Early Music festival
VK: yes i know (smile).

So there you have it. In the meantime, since she’s not planning to sing Händel in opera form anytime soon, i might come for La Belle Helene instead… oh, forgot to ask if she plans to make debut of Azucena soon, though by that time i was hogging lots of autograph time with long queue behind so i drifted off, not before she sent her thanks that i came. I’ll let ToveS and her gf tell you about their experience at the autograph table, a cute moment too :-). We left quite happy people. I’ll have to try these concerts more often. Problem in general is that single concert costs a lot more both in monetary and planning than a production run in 1 city.. But the experience is beyond description. what a fantastic night. I forgot my camera dear readers, so above is the only blur one from the phone.. signing off as i go dreaming about VK Händel.

ps- oh, my host, upon learning that i flew all the way here *just for this concert made a request to hear VK sing Händel on yt, of couse i very eager to oblige. here it is, for the xx times.

ps2- i did end up leaning on the table again, though absolutely not planning.. i tell you, that is the only most reasonable way to having a nice eye-to-eye chat with *someone* sitting ;-).

About thả diều
writing-challenged opera-addict

18 Responses to Vesselina Kasarova in Mannheim

  1. operasmorg says:

    Superba! And she sang the Kv 245 (it’s the last track on her Mozart Arien disc)! That’s like my all time favorite Mozart concert aria aside from the 505. You lucky An!!! 😀 Thanks so much for sharing your experience with the rest of us, too. I’m super jealous and thrilled at the same time. 😀

  2. Eyesometric says:

    Me too! Coming back for *many* readings of this 🙂 Thank you!

  3. suspa64 says:

    but didn’t you ask why she doesn’t sing in Saanen? She also cancelled the Carmen… but great that you had such a fantastic evening 🙂

  4. yvette says:

    Great post from a fierce globe musical trotter! Now I hope she will sing Ariodante in Paris Dec 1st. Thanks An !

  5. stray says:

    You’ll have to start schmoozing the BEMF people 🙂

    • thả diều says:

      i’ve been debating writing them.. they struck me as more on conservative side and seemed quite an oiled machinery on their program/sched… i could be quite wrong 🙂

  6. operasmorg says:

    Btw, I see she’s doing another Handel concert in Hamburg next June. Solomon. 😀

  7. Eyesometric says:

    Gosh. All that schmoozing and squeezing!

  8. Tove S says:

    It was totally worth it! Though of course I didn’t have to travel as far as you. Sitting in the front row was great, she’s so intense. I was too star-struck to really say or do anything during the autograph session, I just gave her my programme to sign. (Though Linn, that would be the gf, said something in English that made VK ask where she was from and then she said she loved Linn’s style so Linn was walking on clouds!) I recognised one of the Mozart arias from the Mozart CD (the concert aria I think) and it’s a really good one.
    The concert in Saanen was too gimmicky for my taste, the “rivalling divas showing off” thing overshadowed the emotion of the actual arias. My favourite was a more toned-down sad aria Kermes sang towards the end, which was actually heartbreaking. Maybe mostly thanks to the orchestra playing beautifully. And I always love the horns in baroque music, those old-fashioned ones you have to stuff your fist in to get different notes. My second favourite was the first encore, that fun “si, si! no, no!” duet from Rinaldo. Then they did an Abba medley which the audience loved (Saanen/Gstaad is a weird place) and a not-so-great barcarolle from Contes d’Hoffmann, which ended with Kermes trying to really smooch Genaux and Genaux panicking and pulling her away by the hair.
    I really can’t imagine VK in that context, maybe that’s why she pulled out? I don’t think she’d ever agree to do the rivalling divas gimmick – she always stays true to the mood of the music and lets that guide her expression. I also don’t think she’d agree to let the vocal gymnastics get in the way of the emotion (besides, it’s questionable whether she’d be able to do them in the first place – Genaux’ coloratura was really lightening-fast and she was trilling her way through basically every aria. I’ve never heard VK sing like that even in her belcanto heyday).

  9. Tove S says:

    Oh, and I think I got a little more of what VK said before the encore. I think she said something like “So now I’m going to sing this aria again in this dress even though it’s a male role, but then again, anything is possible these days with regie opera!”

    • thả diều says:

      oh, hahaha, that’s what she said? how charming! 🙂
      it was great fun chatting with you and Linn at the concert and next morning, muuuch more enjoyable to share experience than if i were there alone, it was indeed absolutely worth it, i would have kicked myself had i missed the chance…

      many thanks also for your impression on the concert in Saanen! yes, that was my original thought simply based on what I have always heard from Vivica Genaux, the music being quite vocal gymnastic type . i can imagine VK in her most flexible voice would navigate… but not sure if there’s any room for expression, esp. if somehow tempo is pushed to show how fast one can run those coloratura sprints…

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