Концерт фестиваля PROMS 2011 из Альберт-хола 24-ого июля.
Рецензия британской прессы ( по-английски) :
After a performance,
I will normally use the train journey home to scribble my thoughts or
start tapping the laptop to begin my review. Or perhaps to study a score
or listen to the iPod in preparation for the next assignment (La Wally,
for instance, demands some attention pre-Friday). This evening, I could
do nothing, except use the time for quiet contemplation. Why it should
bowl me over, I’m not sure, as Proms performances of Verdi’s Requiem
tend to pull out all the stops, bringing about astonishing performances;
they have been unfortunately linked, in recent times, to momentous
events - one thinks of the September 1997 concert, in the aftermath of
the deaths of Princess Diana and then Sir Georg Solti, who was scheduled
to conduct it; I was present at Daniele Gatti’s performance in 2001,
days after the 9/11 attacks. The Requiem and its emotional impact seems
an appropriate response to world events. Thoughts were not far from
Norway this evening. However, here was the Requiem as sheer operatic
drama and every punch landed.
We all know the old taunt of Hans von Bülow that Verdi’s Requiem is
just another of his operas ‘in ecclesiastical garb’. After this
evening’s performance, and despite what it says in the programme note,
I’m inclined to agree: Fiesco prowled around, threatening eternal
damnation to anyone who’d listen; Amneris imperiously demanded judgement
day; leaving Elisabetta di Valois anguished and tortured at the last
trump. Comparisons to Don Carlos, in particular, are apt, as the Lacrymosa
section grew from a discarded scene for Philip and Carlos during the
Insurrection scene after Posa’s death. Only the tenor part here lies
some distance away from contemporary operatic roles Verdi had created,
full of lyric simplicity and sincerity.
The BBC Symphony Orchestra rarely plays like this and the reason was standing on the podium. Semyon Bychkov
conducted a performance which fair crackled with electricity, his
soloists injecting dramatic voltage into every page of the score. As he
demonstrated in his 2009 Don Carlos at Covent Garden, Bychkov has an innate insight for Verdi and the orchestral colours, or tinta, required for each section. He balanced his orchestral forces well, so that individual instruments, such as the piccolo in the Sanctus, came to the fore. The off-stage trumpets in the Tuba mirum
were placed around the Gallery, to wonderful effect - if there's one
work perfect for the Royal Albert Hall, it's this. And how wonderful to
see a cimbasso wielded in anger! Pacing was nigh on perfect. Bychkov’s
handling of the massed choral forces was impressive, drawing hushed
whispers from the cloisters to raise the hairs on the back of one’s
neck, through to the terrifying rage of the Dies irae. I don’t know how much rehearsal time was available, but the three choirs – the BBC Symphony Chorus, the BBC National Chorus of Wales and the London Philharmonic Choir – were impeccably disciplined in the fiendish double fugue Sanctus.
Perhaps the last ounce of Italianate fervour that a native choir, such
as last weekend’s Accademia di Santa Cecilia, might provide, but they
produced a mightily glorious sound.
All of which
leads us to our cast – sorry, soloists – three of whom appeared on this
very platform just last year in the Royal Opera’s triumphant
performance of Simon Boccanegra. Perhaps that’s what set off the whole operatic analogy in my mind. Ferruccio Furlanetto, who also sings in Bychkov’s recording of the Requiem, was as implacable as Fiesco, or Philip II, in the Confutatis; rock solid in Mors stupebit. He even displayed a decent trill in the Hostias section of the Offertory. His intoning of ‘Requiem aeternum’ in the Lux aeterna had sepulchral gravity. There is no finer Italian bass around today.
I have had mixed feelings about Joseph Calleja in the past. I appreciate the intelligence he applies to his singing and the way he caresses phrases, but have struggled with his very fast vibrato; this was far less evident here and the balm he lavished on the Ingemisco was quite wonderful, but time stood still in the Hostias, which had the whole hall holding its breath; light, fresh tenor singing at its finest.
Bulgarian mezzo Mariana Pentcheva was a late
replacement for Sonia Ganassi and the one member of the quartet where I
had initial doubts on her first vocal appearance, noting quite a beat
and more than a hint of strain in her Liber scriptus. It could
be that I grew accustomed to it, but it troubled me less as the
performance proceeded, especially where she was at lower volume in the Agnus Dei and Lux aeterna sections.
Soprano Marina Poplavskaya is well known to London
audiences and delivered a poised and heart-felt rendition of the soprano
part, relishing her soaring phrases, the sustained E at the start of
‘Sed signifier’ being particularly good. Cruelly, Verdi leaves the
biggest challenge until last, the Libera me mixing high drama, leaping phrases and sotto voce declamation delivered with fervour and touching fragility; if the high B flat at bar 170 didn’t quite scale down to the pppp Verdi requested, then no matter, the top C riding above chorus and orchestra towards the end was glorious.
All four soloists blended well, particularly in the Lacrimosa; indeed, trio and duo combinations worked well all evening, the opening to the Agnus Dei quite beautifully poised, with the lovely flute counterpoint delicately played.
This was one of the first Proms to sell out when tickets went on
sale; the only unoccupied seats (other than those belonging to
latecomers who were, inexplicably, admitted into the hall after the Dies irae
section – day of wrath, indeed, to whoever made that decision!) were
the final three rows of the choir on the spear-side. I have rarely seen
the Arena so packed with prommers. The rapt silence which followed the
close of the Libera me lasted a full forty seconds and was testament to a stunning performance.
I doubt I’ll attend another prom this season which knocks me sideways
like this one. The ‘operatic’ scale of the performance is most apt, to
me at least. Verdi’s Requiem is a profoundly personal response to the
text; it is not the inspiration of a devout believer, and a performance
that comes ‘from the heart’ like this one hits its mark as a result.