GREAT SINFONIA IN PERIGORD FESTIVAL
The 20´th anniversary of the baroque music festival Sinfonia in Perigord, situated in and around the beautiful city Perigueux in the Dordogne region, middle of France has been a great success.
We arrived Perigueux on Friday and enjoyed 6 of the festivals concert. It was a well formed arrangement with wonderful musicians and soloists and a big variation in the program.
One of the great ideas is to place the concerts around in famouse monasterys, castles and churches in the ddistrict, many of them from the baroque periode, and even much older. Which gives the festival an extra deepnes, and gives the audience not only wonderful music with great artists but in addition a possibility to enjoy some of the historical monuments which this region is full of.
At the Monastery of Chancelade:
“AMUSING BAROQUE FLIRT” -ENSEMBLE BARCAROLE – Starring Agnès Mellon, alt and Dominique Visse, counter-tenor, together with the famouse Bruno Helstroffer on théorbe, Julien Hainsworth, cello, Brice Sailly, cembalo and positif and Marco Horvat on lirone. They presented a programme they have called Love Talk and Discussion (Parole e Querelle d´amore), which we enjoyed mostly as a wonderful flirt between the two brilliant singers. It was an inspired virtuosely singing, performing and discrete flirting between the singers. The harmoni and contrasts between the voices of Agnès Mellon and Dominique Visse was perfect. Her well-tuning and shining voice, together with Visse´s good countertenor, both with great well placed high tunes, was giving the concert some unforgetable musicla highlights. The Ensemble Barcarole did a delicious, harmonic job. With many beautiful solo parts, such as Frescobaldis beautiful Canzone for Thèorbe wonderfully played by Bruno Helstroffer, and Taeggio´s Susanne ung Jour with Julien Hainsworth as soloist at cello.
The surroundings and the atmosphaere is perfect. The Monastery of Chantelade gives the 1400/1500 atmosphaeere around the music of Monteverdi, Scarlatti, Frescobaldi, Sances Valentini, Taeggio, Strozzi and Gagliano that we enjoyed. And immediately when the music started, i had the feeling that this was perfect.
Cathedral Saint Etienne de la Cité:
Johann Sebastian Bach: “Messe in h-moll BWV232″. Collegium 1704-Collegium Vocale 1704. Conducted by Václav Luks. It was fantastic to experience all the good soloists which came out of the lines of this first class choir. Unfortunately, as teir names was placed inside in the text, I couldn´t manage to find out who was who in the singing. In addition the programme also missed who was the musical soloists. But – It was a festivitas, this presentaton is a very young presentation of the h-minor mess, whoch suited the mess well. It was not an old fashion catholicmess, it was an updated fresh protestantic mess. The audience loved it, and it seems that the participating ensemble enjoyed it very much. Václav Luks was building it all up very well, and the crescendos were more and more powerfull, but during the time, it was no only a speedfull interpretation, no, all the soft parties were taken good care of, the pianissiomos, where it was needed were there, and good to see, his orchestra was following the conductors ideas, therefore it became a big succes, and an absolutel highlight for the festival. From Sanctus they changed the building up of the choire position, which was as normalley with the wimens tothe left and the male singers to the right. It was changed dto two lines, first lines with femaelmsingers and second line with male singers. this gave it all a ggood change for the finale parts. Bravo. Brilliant.
Grand Salons at the Prefecture, Perigueux:
CÉLINE FRISCH, cembalo. Rameau and Bach. Céline Frisch made a wonderful concert presenting a cembalo program containing two suites by Jean-Philippe Rameau: Premier Livre from 1706 followed by Pieces de Clavecin from 1724/1731, and gave it the most deliciouse presention, painting out the many great details, which is present in the many variations in Rameaus compositions, such as the Birds calling and the Tambourin and others. Johann Sebastian Bach was the second parts composer with Suite Francaise BWV 816. Céline Frisch is an outstanding expert in Bach, it was a great pleasure. It all ended up with Bahs Toccata in e-minor.
Cathedral Saint etienne de la Cité, Parigueux:
LA VENEXIANA – “THE CORONATION OF POPPEA“. Opera by Claudio Monteverdi, – Concert version.
INCREDIBEL – It was one of the concerts, which after the second part will be remembered for a long time. First because of the many outstanding singers in the cast, headed by Valentina Coladonato, whcih was singing her Poppea for the first time, and it was very well done. Together with her wonderful Nerone, in this version with a female singer, the outstanding soprano Roberto Mameli in the role. Her high very beautiful tunes, I well remember for a ery long time. The third importent singer among all the other stars on the role list, was, for me, the brilliant singer, – and, very importent, actor Ian Honeyman as Arnalia, the Nourrice. In concert version, where many of the singers are performing, as normal in Poppea, 2-3 roles, and it is even played in a church it can easily be boring, but when the company is having such capasities as Ian Honeyman among them, who are not afraid to lift it all by his acting then it is not being boring, but refreshing. We, the audience, enjoyed it very much, A it is a long performance, we need some entertainment, we are not there to attend a funeral, still that the well singing Raffaele Costantini as Seneca is going behind stage to kill him self. The following trio “Seneca non mourir was great”. The same was the small duet between Valletto, Alena Dantcheva and Damigella, Marina Bartoli.
A concertversion of an opera, where many roles are shared between a number of singers are making the history confusing for the audience, exspecially when the audience dont know the history and the intricate details, and, of course, it is being sung in italian. But the singers were very good, some of them extraordinary, of international class, and the intensivity were brilliant. I would have prefered that the conductor Claudio Cavina has been concentrating on the conducting and the cembalo, and have found a countertenor of good quality for the role as Ottone. First that role i simportent, and a brilliant voice is needed. – It worked out with the combination as conducter, cembalist and singer, but the total result would have been even better with a countertenor of class, who could concentrate on singing, and performing the role. Now it was only singing, but not absolutely first class, and no performing at all.