At Dresden’s Frauenkirche soprano Jeanine De Bique soared to great heights

United KingdomUnited Kingdom Dresden Music Festival 2024 [10] – ‘Mirrors’ (music by Handel, Graun, Vinci, Telemann, Broschi): Jeanine De Bique (soprano), Concerto Köln / Evgeny Sviridov (concertmaster). Frauenkirche, Dresden, 29.5.2024. (MC)

Jeanine De Bique (soprano) and Concerto Köln © Stephan Floss

This Frauenkirche concert featuring Trinidadian soprano Jeanine De Bique with the Concerto Köln contained a programme almost identical to that on De Bique’s debut recital album Mirrors released on Berlin Classics. The concept was an interesting one, taking arias sung by Handel’s great heroines Rodelinda, Alcina, Agrippina, Cleopatra, Partenope and pairing them with opera arias of the same heroines from one of Handel’s contemporaries. This is the origin of the title Mirrors where each character is seen through a type of mirror.

Jeanine De Bique looked marvellously assured on the stage, standing out with her off the shoulder, floor length gowns. A different one in each half. The audience soon warmed to De Bique for her outstanding voice and stage personality. Throughout her range De Bique produced her ravishing voice so effortlessly combined with convincing portrayal of the text. Striking was the multidimensional nature of the heroines she portrayed. From around Carl Heinrich Graun’s aria L’empio rigor del fato from Rodelinda I had begun to notice her well-judged coloratura, always sounding attractive and never over ambitious. At the end of her programme during encores her reserves of energy seemed limitless as she bounced back onto the stage.

Jeanine De Bique’s ‘Mirrors’ at Dresden’s Frauenkirche © Stephan Floss

Although I have attended a wide range of concerts at the Frauenkirche, that circular space seems ideal for baroque music. Directed by concertmaster Evgeny Sviridov the Concerto Köln is a renowned period instrument ensemble whose sound resonated gloriously through the stone building. Noticeable were the vivid tone colours of the period instruments with the woodwind and brass sounding especially distinctive. This wasn’t full-blooded playing, it felt more focused, stylish and expressive. During the playing of Leonardo Vinci’s Sinfonia from Partenope I recall thinking that period instrument playing doesn’t get any better than this.

At the Frauenkirche soprano Jeanine De Bique soared to great heights making this an evening to remember.

Michael Cookson

Handel – Overture, Partenope, HWV 27
Carl Heinrich Graun Risolvere non oso (Rodelinda)
Handel Ritorna oh caro (Rodelinda, HWV 19)
Leonardo Vinci – Sinfonia, Partenope
Carl Heinrich Graun L’empio rigor del fato (Rodelinda)
HandelBallo: Entrée des songes agréables; Ah! Ruggiero crudel…Ombre pallide (Alcina, HWV 34)
Georg Philipp TelemannRimembranza crudel (Germanicus)
HandelL’alma mia fra le tempeste (Agrippina, HWV 6)
Riccardo BroschiMi restano le lagrime (L’isola d’Alcina)
HandelSuite aus der Rodrigo, HWV 5; Se pieta di me non senti (Giulio Cesare in Egitto, HWV 17); Ballo: Entrée des songes agréables effrayés (Alcina, HWV 34)
Carl Heinrich GraunTra le procelle assorto (Cesare e Cleopatra)

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