Sondra Radvanovsky and Piotr Beczała in an excellent recital at the Liceu

SpainSpain Various: Sondra Radvanovsky (soprano), Piotr Beczała (tenor), Sarah Tysman (piano). Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona, 13.7.2023. (JMI)

Sondra Radvanovsky and Piotr Beczała waltzing during their encore duet accompanied by pianist Sarah Tysman © A. Bofill

Puccini – ‘Sola, perduta, abbandonata’ from Manon Lescaut; ‘Recondita armonia’, ‘Mario! Mario!… Son qui!’, ‘Vissi d’arte, vissi d’amore’, ‘E lucevan le stelle’ from Tosca
Verdi – ‘Celeste Aida’, ‘Ritorna vincitor!’, ‘La fatal pietra…O terra, addio’ from Aida
Dvořák – ‘Vidino divná, přesladká’, ‘Měsíčku na nebi hlubokém’, ‘Miláčku, znáš mne, znáš?’ from Rusalka

The Teatro Real finished its opera season with a concert by Javier Camarena, and the Liceu ended theirs with a magnificent recital by two great singers, Sondra Radvanovsky and Piotr Beczała. The difference is that the Liceu program was much more demanding than Camarena’s in Madrid.

The recital opened with Sondra Radvanovsky singing ‘Sola, perduta, abbandonata’, where she once again showed her authentic spinto soprano voice, one of the few today. She is a stupendous singer, although her voice is not extraordinary in terms of timbre beauty.

The rest of this first section of the recital was dedicated to Tosca, beginning with a series of arias by tenor Piotr Beczała. ‘Recondita armonia’ demonstrated his beautiful voice and vocal technique – simply magnificent! They continued with ‘Mario, Mario’, a duet from the beginning of the opera. Both were terrific in every way. Radvanovsky gave a stupendous interpretation of the more-than-famous ‘Vissi d’arte’, and then Beczała sang ‘E lucevan le stelle’ – and he was excellent.

The second part of the recital was dedicated to Verdi’s Aida, and the tenor opened with a beautiful ‘Celeste Aida’. Radvanovsky followed with ‘Ritorna vincitor’, which cannot be faulted. They continued with a great version of the final tomb scene.

To end the recital, they decided to focus on the music of Antonin Dvořák and his masterpiece, Rusalka, which brings back such memories for me. I remember Sondra Radvanovsky’s debut in Bilbao in Rusalka, in which she triumphed. Beczała opened it with the Prince’s aria, one of the best moments of the entire recital. Radvanovsky followed with a stupendous interpretation of the always-awaited ‘Song to the Moon’.

They finished the official program with the duo of Rusalka and the Prince, where he dies happily. The entire recital was first-rate, but if I had to choose something, it would be these three excerpts from Rusalka, where they were both unbeatable.

After the very intense applause, there with three encores, one in duet. Sondra Radvanovsky began with ‘La mamma morta’ from Giordano’s  Andrea Chénier, where she gave a great performance. Piotr Beczała continued with ‘Dein ist mein ganzes Herz’ from Lehár’s The Land of Smiles, where he proved that he is also superb in operetta. They ended with the famous duet (‘Lippen schweigen’) from The Merry Widow, where both showed their voices blended as well in operetta as in opera itself.

They were accompanied at the piano by Sarah Tysman, who did a fine job.

Jose M. Irurzun

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