a new Händel

was hunting on Francemusique hoping for a broadcast of Nathalie Stutzmann’s concert today at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées but no luck.. instead, we get a nice rebroadcast of Händel’s Solomon with Karina Gauvin and Marie-Nicole Lemieux for the night!

clik on image for link to francemusique player

clik on image for link to francemusique player

I want to explore this opera for several reasons, but primarily to see how every unfolds to that final super lovely duet! If i correct it’s in English so won’t need too much libretto.. some running commentary will follow.. Fast-forward to minute 18:00 for intro, opera starts at time-tag… hmm, where the heck is it.. still searching.. ok, skip all the way to minute 33:30 for proper intro + start.

– i must be so unfamiliar with their voices, can’t tell whether MNL or KG is singing the long expressive aria at 01h05min, but i guessing MNL… whoever, lovely voice!!
– yep, for sure MNL simply b/c the soprano immediately follows with lovely high voice! strange way to sing coloratura though.. might be due to tempo. she has a similar way of using the vibrato (that’s what i call vibrato) as MNL, hence my confusion..
– OHHH, it’s not a finale duet but right here! LOVELY!! LIKE!
– it’s criminal the duet is this short. they must be cutting it? (i randomly accusing..). Their voices have similar tone actually, so you don’t hear the contrast as well… anyhow, now that we get to the duet, i’ll have to find more motivation to continue :-). but it’s time to wrap up the office hour.. will resume. Here’s duet:

messiah @ symphony hall

Edit: the whole performance on 02-Dec-2012 can be re-listened to >here.
ok, after re-hearing the CT’s “but who may abide..” take, i obliged to embed the contralto’s version in comment section.
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symphonyhallA

red circle: td; blue rectangle: violin I and II; blue square: harpsichord; red oval: bass section of chorus

it’s that time of the year again, when messiah is popping up in the area like rabbits in the spring, H&H with 3 consecutive performances yesterday, today, and tomorrow (which will be broadcast live at 3PM EST on WGBH internet radio, for all fans of the Handel and Haydn orchestra / choir, Karina Gauvin, Sumner Thompson.) On thursday we had an electricity outage here for a couple hours that sent the whole city into darkness and yours truly into a spending spree, one of which a very spontaneous purchase to hear period instruments and Ms. Gauvin up close. If you have been here before, you might remember my reservation for Symphony hall. Haven’t been to a live concert in a while, i was really craving for the sound of the baroque violins and, especially because it’s the baroque violin, one has to be picky about where to sit to really get immersed in it. After some probing, I spotted the perfect seat.  It’s a bit under the stage, so i knew ahead of time what comes would _just_ be a load of violins (and soloists), exactly what the doktor ordered.

Christina Day Martinson, concertmaster

Christina Day Martinson, concertmaster

I’ve heard raving reviews of Karina Gauvin’s and couldn’t quite pass up this chance.  In that sense, i think in the Messiah, the soprano is _highly_ underused as we only sporadically get to hear Ms. Gauvin.  She has a veeeery rich and warm voice, one which i believed works very well in Symphony Hall.  Here is purely a matter of taste, she chose to use the vibrato throughout, and somehow I much prefer when she sang without it.  The highlight of the night for me is “He shall feed His flock like a shepherd”. I a bit confused as she shared the aria with the countertenor, is it because they’re all singing 3 consecutive nights in a big hall that they’re splitting duties? He took the first run, then she followed. The contrast is quite amazing as her voice rose above, hard to describe, just a silent hall with waarm high notes soaring high to a bed of violins underneath, breathtaking.  Here’s a take of Alice Coote and Ailish Tynan splitting the aria, oh how i wished she was also there last night.

I not sure if Ms. Nosky is still the concertmaster of the H&H, she wasn’t there last night, too bad, as I got the perfect seat.  Christina Day Martinson took the lead, from her first note, i knew exactly why i bought the ticket.  (Actually i was excited all day from the moment i purchased ticket.)  Being so up close, i was even more surprised how thin the H&H is, one can spot and hear instruments between the musicians’ legs!  Sitting slightly on the right was also perfect for several reasons: the deep violas, cellos, and SUPERB harpsichord was ALL on my right ears, along with bass section of chorus.  Given that they tend to get buried when the high notes from soprano section + violins taking over, sound partitioning was just perfect as those high notes were a bit farther away (just a bit really, I was 1 meter away from Sumner Thompson’s feet, merely 3m away from Karina Gauvin…)  Speaking of Sumner Thompson, i *love* his voice.  As for the CT, well, I knew it was a CT when purchasing tix, would have preferred a mezzo… but i read he’s one of the most sought after CT… and the tenor: i was sitting a bit too close to really enjoy his voice.. so not much to report.  The chorus was REALLLY great, loooove love the balance.

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