Closing Concert of the ‘Stars on Baikal’ Festival

17/09/2018

GT1

‘Stars on Baikal’ Festival [2] – Verdi, Cilea, Puccini, Saint-Saens, De Curtis, Gershwin, and Tchaikovsky: Hibla Gerzmava (soprano), Denis Matsuev (piano), Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra / Alexander Sladkovsky (conductor) Zagursky Musical Theatre, Irkutsk, 12.9.2018. (GT)

Verdi – overture La forza del destino and aria ‘Pace, Pace’
Verdi – overture Nabucco
CileaAdriana Lecouvreur aria ‘lo son l’umile ancella’
Puccini – Intermezzo from Le Villi
Puccini – La bohème aria ‘Quando m’en vo’ soletta’
Saint-Saens – prelude to Act III Samson et Dalila
De Curtis – aria ‘Ti voglio tanto bene’
GershwinPorgy and Bess aria ‘Summertime’
Tchaikovsky – Piano Concerto No.1 in B flat minor, op.23

The closing concert of the 13th Musical Festival mentored by Denis Matsuev was given by Sladkovsky’s Tatarstan National Symphony Orchestra with the distinguished Abkhazian soprano Hibla Gerzmava heading a first half of mostly Italian arias and topped off by Tchaikovsky’s most popular concerto with Matsuev himself closing the festival.

Hibla Gerzmava (soprano), Alexander Sladkovsky (conductor) & TNSO

Gerzmava has a beautiful velvety soprano creamy on top and a real cutting edge and is among the most sought-after singers in Italian and French opera. However, with the opening chords of the overture to The Force of Destiny, the orchestra showed how skilled they are in the high drama and tension, notably with fine contributions from flute, clarinet and oboe in the desperately tragic idea from Nabucco on oboe of Andrey Shubin and picked up on the violins. Sladkovsky showed how skilled an accompanist he is in opera, setting up for an exciting evening. In her aria ‘Pace, pace’ the Abkhazian soprano was forebodingly tragic in her voice rising dramatically, but still not in her best form here it would seem, that soon changed with her aria from Cilea’s Adriana Lecouvreur, before which we heard another overture from Nabucco in which the Tatar musicians opened up with their tremendous brass department thrillingly, and the wonderful sotte voce idea expressed by the oboe and heard fully in the great chorus ‘Va Pensiero’. Now in her best voice Gerzmava expressed deeply felt sensitivity in the Cilea aria and assisted by Alina Yakonina – the first violin in her solo passage. Once more the orchestra gave us the Intermezzo from La Villi, wholly in character with Italian harmonies. The most successful aria for me from Gerzmava was from La bohème in which the soprano gave a wonderful aria of the tragic heroine. Once again, the orchestra displayed their brilliance with the prelude to Act III of Samson et Dalila, again, the oboe was marvellous in evoking the dark exotic colours, and assisted by the flute of Venera Porfirieva, special mention must be made of the glorious solo on trumpet by Denis Petrov. Neapolitan colours were to the fore with Gerzmava’s aria from De Curtis ‘Ti voglio tanto bene’ bringing the Italian arias to a close before we were serenaded by Gershwin’s ever popular ‘Summertime’. At the close, the Abkhazian singer sang a solo song a capella of an Abkhazian folk song.

Denis Matsuev (piano)

In Tchaikovsky’s ever popular concerto, it did seem at first as if the Steinway might have needed to be tuned properly: however, the concerto opened on thunderous chords from the brass and one must mention the fine clarinets, and flute, with its rather child-like melody, picked up by other woodwinds, in Matsuev’s first cadenza, and with the entry of the woodwind, it was as if a fresh page was opened, and the theme gradually developed to a swift climax. Matsuev played powerfully in his second cadenza, dramatically showing the strength of his will matched by splendid lyricism. In the andante, the ever so gentle theme on strings was introduced by the solo flute, invoking a feeling of fantasy played out in a pastoral summer meadow. With the finale, the opening exciting passage was like a troika driven by horses through the Russian forests at great speed, and the swirling wintry snow. Throughout there was superb accompaniment by Sladkovsky and his musicians, in the closing climax, there was great momentous celebration! No encore from Matsuev, perhaps he is tired after such a major festival, but the orchestra did come up with a reprise of Alexander Tchaikovsky’s Stan Tamerlane piece, a glorious close to the festival.

Gregor Tassie

Photos: Yevgeni Yevtukhov

Comments

Leave a Reply

Recent Reviews

Season Previews

__________________________________
  • NEW! Lyric Opera of Chicago’s 2020 Ring Cycles __________________________________
  • NEW! Roman River 2019 Festival __________________________________
  • NEW! Ex Cathedra’s 50th Anniversary Season in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Geneva Grand Théâtre in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • UPDATED! 2019-20 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden __________________________________
  • NEW! Bregenz Festival 17 July – 18 August 2019 __________________________________
  • NEW! City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Musikfest Berlin 2019 from 30 August to 19 September __________________________________
  • NEW! 2019 BBC Proms 19 July – 14 September __________________________________
  • NEW! Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Zurich Opera House in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! English National Opera in 2019-2020 __________________________________
  • NEW! Adrian Partington Introduces the 2019 Three Choirs Festival in Conversation with John Quinn __________________________________
  • NEW! ENB in 2019-2020 and Updates on their New London City Island Home __________________________________
  • NEW! Classical Music and Other Events at the Southbank Centre in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • UPDATED! Cleveland Orchestra in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Classical Music at the Barbican in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • NEW! CHORUS MASTER STEPHEN DOUGHTY IN CONVERSATION WITH ROBERT BEATTIE __________________________________
  • NEW! Ron Howard’s Pavarotti in Cinemas 13 July (Preview) and Nationwide (15 July) __________________________________
  • NEW! MULTI-FACETED MUSICIAN JOY LISNEY IN CONVERSATION WITH ROBERT BEATTIE __________________________________
  • NEW! ‘MUSICAL MAGIC’: AN INTERVIEW WITH VIOLINIST HENNING KRAGGERUD __________________________________
  • NEW! English National Ballet Announces Winners of Emerging Dancer 2019 __________________________________
  • NEW! CONDUCTOR THOMAS SANDERLING IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • NEW! Chelsea Opera Group Perform Anton Rubinstein’s The Demon on 30 June __________________________________
  • NEW! In August Fulham Opera’s Most Ambitious Project to Date – Die Meistersinger Von Nürnberg __________________________________
  • R.I.P. IN MEMORIAM ANDRÉ PREVIN (1929-2019) __________________________________
  • NEW! CHRISTOPHE ROUSSET IN CONVERSATION WITH COLIN CLARKE __________________________________
  • CONDUCTOR ÁDÁM FISCHER IN CONVERSATION WITH MICHAEL COOKSON __________________________________
  • MAESTRO RICCARDO FRIZZA IN CONVERSATION WITH MARGARIDA MOTA-BULL __________________________________
  • A Q&A WITH GERMAN SOPRANO PETRA LANG __________________________________
  • HOW TO CONTACT SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL __________________________________
  • Search S&H

    Archives by Week

    Archives by Month