Spain Rossini: La Morte di Didone & Stabat Mater: Cadaqués Orchestra, Orfeón Donostiarra, Alberto Zedda (conductor), Kursaal Auditorium, San Sebastian, 25.8.2015 (JMI)
Rossini: La Morte di Didone & Stabat Mater
Soloists: María José Moreno, Marianna Pizzolato, Celso Albelo and Fernando Latorre
This very engaging concert featured two works by Rossini. The first (1811) belongs to the Pesaro composer’s early days, when he had not yet had great success; the second one (1831, completed in 1841) is from his Paris period, when his operas had become well known. For the aficionado it was a perfect way to listen to the light Rossini of earlier times and the exceptional and dramatic musician of later years. The concert was a true success, with close-to-miraculous conducting, a faultless performance by the musical ensembles and a soloist quartet that provided a solid, if not brilliant, complement.
We all know that the Rossini-Zedda fellowship has been unique for many years now, to the point where the Rossini Festival in Pesaro and what it has meant since its creation would not have been possible without the presence of the Italian conductor. No wonder Zedda can be considered as the authentic representative of Gioachino Rossini on Earth. Nothing, therefore, should be surprising about the fact that his conducting was magnificent. What it is much less understandable is the freshness, energy and agility that Alberto Zedda shows at 87. As if that were not enough, he conducted without a score. I’m not exaggerating when I say that musicians, choristers, soloists and the public were greatly moved Maestro Zedda’s interpretation.
The Cadaqués Orchestra made a very positive impression. It had been a few years since I last heard them in concert, and I found them much improved. Clearly, the presence on the podium of Alberto Zedda had much to do with their performance, but I confess I would have liked him to have more control of the orchestral volume at times. The Orfeón Donostiarra was also superb and gave a performance that would be difficult to improve upon. The a cappella “Quando corpus morietur” was a magical moment.
As for the soloists, I was sorry to hear of the last-minute cancellation by Nicola Alaimo, who was replaced in extremis by Fernando Latorre. The best performance of the solo quartet was by soprano María Jose Moreno as Queen Dido in the first part of the concert. She sang with gusto and emotion and was easy in the tessitura. In the Stabat Mater I found mezzo soprano Marianna Pizzolato the most compelling, particularly in the fragment “Fac, ut portem Christi mortem.” Celso Albelo did not shine especially in the always much anticipated “Cujus animam gementem” except in the top notes. Finally, Fernando Latorre completed the quartet, and he saved the concert.
The Kursaal was almost sold out. The audience showed their enthusiasm at the end of the concert with prolonged applause for the soloists, orchestra and chorus. It was a pity that Alberto Zedda refused to take any solo bows but always brought the soloists along with him.
José M. Irurzun