Sandrine Piau at Wigmore Hall


We excitedly showing up at Wigmore hall, too excited in fact, 1/2 hour early, and had to walk around the block to cool down while discussing how excited I was to finally hear Ann Hallenberg for the first time and that she must already be in the hall warming up her voice… Well, first I was surprised they gave us a “program” sheet! Then saw “Sandrine Piau”!! and thought oh? are we at the right place? is she duetting with Ann ? then the little note that Ann is sick.. oh well I will try to catch her next time then.. but we were NOT complaining at all!! especially after reading Anik’s post just last month, and re-hearing her as Dalinda in the 2014 Aix’s Ariodante. Perhaps 2016 is really a soprano year after all 😉 . I admit to getting distracted in the past to her facial expression while singing… but that’s just something you have to get used to, and often much easier to do live than on zoom-in versions (I got past VK’s facial expression extremely quickly once seeing her Ruggiero live..)

Sandrine Piau
Christophe Rousset
Michel Pignolet de Montéclair: Morte di Lucrezia
Arcangelo Corelli: Trio Sonata in D minor Op. 3 No.5
Domenico Scarlatti: Cantata: Tinte a note di sangue
Antonio Vivaldi: Trio Sonata in D minor Op. 1 No. 12 “La Follia”
Georg Frideric Händel: Cantata: Notte placida e cheta HWV142
Händel: Piangerio la sorte mia (Cleopatre)
Händel: Tornami a vagheggiar (Morgana)

The first cantata, Morte di Lucrezia, I thought she took it a bit too “strong”, too “emotional”, sort of when people already pour out the tears before you know the story, so it took a little bit away from feeling it in the music. But the immediate impression was how warm her voice is live! By the 2nd cantata, *this* is when one feels she has EVERYTHING at her disposal, slow, fast, emotional, soft, forte, any kind of phrasing, she can do, a FULL bag of tools, everything is within her reach. But it wasn’t until the 3rd cantata after intermission, Händel’s Notte placida e cheta that I was entirely unable to move, hardly breathing, simply breathtaking. There was 1 section when she interacted with the 2 violinists which immediately brought me back to the way N.Stutzmann described how her orchestra “breaths” with her. You could feel as she expands her rib cage the violin + viola replenishing with oxygen. Then came the wishes to please not stop. Any new movements, any mood, (the valse one, she rocked! in the swinging sense, sooooo lovely, i could have danced!), you just did not want her to stop. There was also a gorgeous reallly soft singing with just the cello and harpsichord. JUST GORGEOUS!! But then it was over! NOOOO. we clapped madly and she came out for Piangerio. It was breathtaking! Actually I don’t know this aria very well and recalling not liking it too much because it’s a bit cheesy.. but never mind, not with S.Piau. Just the long stretch note combining with soft singing… and the switch into the defiant (is it?) B section, back to ornamented A, just magic! So I (we) clapped maddddly some more and she came out for Morgana’s Tornami a vagheggiar. Looooooove the swinging music from just the 2 violins! And I was thinking I can handel Alcina with just this! It was fun, though I admit she didn’t pull the roof off with it :-).

So there you have it, a short highly enthusiastic version of my (and Dehggi’s i think) first encounter with Sandrine Piau. ABSOLUTELY a great replacement, NO COMPLAINT! we left happy cats and had Tornami a vagheggiar in our head all the way back on the tube.

About thả diều
writing-challenged opera-addict

18 Responses to Sandrine Piau at Wigmore Hall

  1. Very nice review, thank you! I heard Sandrine Piau as Dalinda in Ariodante in Amsterdam and I have to say I was not mesmerized. But, on the other hand, Dalinda’s role is not kind to the singer. It’s extremely hard without being charming, if that makes sense. I did recognize a great artist, though, and I would love to hear her again in some more interesting role, especially after your reportage!

    • thả diều says:

      yes, perhaps something close to what Anik heard her in 2 weeks ago at theater an der Wien or the 3rd Händel cantata on this program, she was really exquisite. I think certain music brings out the best in the singer.. Also i get the impression she spent most of rehearsal time with this cantata because it requires very tentative interaction with the 2 strings so you can hear allll the fine attentive singing.. i really did not want it to end..

      I must admit i’m still a bit distracted by her “movements” in the fast arias… esp. the first one on this program, perhaps she didn’t have as much time to prepare hence not as much attention to the phrasing and it came out a bit too over-emoted (she was entirely fixed to the music sheet, they did say they manage to get her at very last minute..)

  2. Anik LaChev says:

    Wow, now THAT is a deluxe replacement! Too bad about Hallenberg, but your Piau experience is a wonderful read!

    – I can imagine better fits for her than Morgana or Dalinda, too (she has the coloratura and the range, but she shines so much more when she gets to work with something other than “sparkle on/sparkle off”!), but the other numbers sound mesmerizing. As a recent full-on convert, I am so envious! 😉

    (thank you for putting this up despite undue distractions elsewhere)

    • thả diều says:

      I and Dehggi were grinning ear to ear (at least i was: “oh, ok, great! i wanted to hear her live too! this is perfect” 🙂 ) . then post-concert while attempting to hum Morgana’s aria (in whichever key our voices fit) we also agreed this was great because we were more likely to buy tix to hear A.Hallenberg than her (up to now)… then i also babbled about how replacement could have also been ACA or Mingardo or Petibon 😀 (getting greedy i know)

      • Anik LaChev says:

        If we get to write opera dreamcasts, we also get to design dream replacements, don’t we? 🙂

        • thả diều says:

          ps- a bit unrelated: Rigoletto with VK from Paris avail here . I can’t watch: geoblocked! i’ll sit tight and wait for it to pop up somewhere… 🙂
          Edit: oh, here it is, she sounds good! i like the jacket in her back!! reminds me of this image i always have!

          Edit2: hearing her in this, I wish she would switch over and sing Santa Susanna with ACA!!

          • Anik LaChev says:

            yes, and yes!!
            They should just be done with it and give her “Bella figlio dell’amore” as an additional line.

            (I’m geoblocked, too – not that I would mind that much when it comes to Rigoletto. But VK… Also, it’s amusing that it take about half a second of looking at the light design to guess that it is a Claus Guth production. Did he manage to add in a sign interpreter again?)

          • dehggial says:

            someone needs to tell her it’s not a trouser role!

          • thả diều says:

            no, i thought they gave her the split jacket to come rescue Gilda!

          • dehggial says:

            she’s supposed to be evil! or something, I don’t know that I ever got to the part with Maddalena in it. She’s into high boots it seems, eh?

          • stray says:

            She’s a hooker who likes her customer too much to be totally on board with her hit man brother offing him.

          • thả diều says:

            oh? i really like her split jacket! i think in this version she’s envisioning luring in Gilda and rescuing her 😉

          • stray says:

            I’d have no problem at all with that rewrite 🙂

          • dehggial says:

            dude, I just got around to listening to the whole bit – that Michael Fabiano sure sounds dry. What a charmless Duke. His face bugs me.

          • thả diều says:

            sorry, there’s a certain soprano singing Sifare again currently that got me abandoning my own post 😉 , let me check who the heck “Fabiano” is… Duke you said? must be Rigoletto?…

          • dehggial says:

            yep, it’s the Duke in Rigoletto.

      • dehggial says:

        I was grinning 😀

  3. Pingback: Christophe Rousset & Co. + Sandrine Piau (Wigmore Hall, 30 April 2016) | opera, innit?

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 )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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