Mittwoch, 31. Dezember 2008
Montag, 29. Dezember 2008
Samstag, 27. Dezember 2008
I'm looking really, really forward to her first performance together with Rolando after her baby break ! =)
This January marks your return to the stage. How long has it been since you last performed?My last appearance was at the end of June, and then I stopped completely. What was a big wonder for me was that I didn't even want to perform. I didn't open my mouth at all. I just started practicing in November. I thought my voice would be wobbling. But no, no–it was there. I immediately sang the whole role of Lucia! I was curious how my voice would be, because I know of sopranos who have lost their voices after giving birth. But it seems like it was exactly the same as it was before. I started to sing like I had never stopped. The only thing that was different was that I got tired quickly. But that's normal. Like a sportsman, you need to train the muscles.
This is your first time singing Lucia at the Met. What's your history with the role?
The first time I heard Lucia I thought, Oh, my God, how can anybody sing that? No way. But later I tried it, and immediately, from the first phrase, it felt so good.
Musicologist Philip Gossett has composed a new cadenza for the mad scene especially for you. How did this idea come about?When I sang the role in Los Angeles, I realized that everything was very comfortable–but this cadenza scares me. But what you do in the cadenza is up to the soprano–you can sing it without any instrument, you can add notes and whatever you want. The only thing is, it has to be spectacular.
What's your approach to the character of Lucia?
Lucia can be done in many different ways. The craziness can be different. Lucia can be funny cuckoo, she can be evil cuckoo, she can be sad-andheartbroken cuckoo. It's really up to you. And it really depends on the staging. Mary Zimmerman's production is very beautiful, and there's a lot of freedom for the singers. I will have great partners, so I think we can create something very special.
Is this your first time performing Lucia opposite Rolando Villazón?
Yes, but in this opera, I don't sing very much with the tenor. It's more about the soprano and the baritone. Mariusz [Kwiecien, who plays Enrico] and I have sung together in many productions, and he's amazing. How will you and Mariusz play the relationship of Lucia and her brother? I've been thinking a lot about why she goes crazy so quickly. And I think in the relationship between her and her brother, there has to be something very violent. He has to be violent toward her. I'm not saying he has to be sexually violent, but the hint of it has to be there. He puts her down on her knees too many times. This is why this anger grows inside her, and that's why she kills. I don't think it comes suddenly–it has been growing. It's a breakdown, the nerves, the pain, the suffering. I don't think she's crazy from the beginning.
You're known as both a great singer and a great actress. How important is it to be able to do both?
It's not only me. This whole generation of singers is like that now. It's not possible to be old-fashioned and just sing. You have to be able to act, you have to be able to move... That said, I was once at a performance of Lucia at the Vienna Staatsoper, with a wonderful soprano, Edita Gruberova. She doesn't really act–she's a singer. And I have to tell you, that was one of the most amazing Lucias I ever saw. She was just standing and singing, and it was incredible. She blew me away with her singing.
Your fame transcends the world of opera. Do you worry that your stardom may overshadow your artistry in people's minds?
I don't worry about those kinds of things. There may have been a couple of times I got upset reading, "Oh, it's better to look at her than to listen to her!" But after a whileÑwhatever. And I'm not on the Internet, I don't have a computer, so I don't read many articles about me.
Do you feel differently about your career now that you're a mother?
I think maybe emotionally I'll feel differently when I'm singing–that's something I'll notice during my performances. I have a lot of responsibility now and different kind of responsibility. But I hope to sing as well as I did. Or better.
Mittwoch, 24. Dezember 2008
I hope you will all have great holidays and that Santa Claus will bring you many, nice presents ; )
Dienstag, 23. Dezember 2008
Montag, 22. Dezember 2008
Thanks to dvedas for the information
Sonntag, 21. Dezember 2008
Samstag, 20. Dezember 2008
Donnerstag, 18. Dezember 2008
Donnerstag, 11. Dezember 2008
Wednesday, 17.12.2008 09:00 a.m.
Thursday, 18.12.2008 02:00 p.m.
Tuesday, 23.12.2008 02:00 p.m.
Wednesday, 24.12.2008 09:00 a.m.
Monday, 29.12.2008 02:00 p.m.
Wednesday, 31.12.2008 09:00 a.m.
Montag, 8. Dezember 2008
And...he sang! There was a sense of nervousness among the audience beforehand as the lights dimmed. I was waiting for someone to come on stage to announce that he wasn't going to sing, but as Antonio Pappano set the orchestra into motion I knew he would sing...
At first he seemed to be saving his voice, finding out how much he could use it, but as the afternoon wore on he settled and his voice grew in volume - although it wasn't as powerful as I've heard on recordings (or even when he sang at the In Conversation I attended in November), and he was overpowered by Giuletta (Christine Rice) in their duet. But in comparison to where he was several months ago his voice has recovered a great deal, and in other reviews of Hoffmann it was reported that the strength was there, so he may well have been protecting his voice following his recent cold that caused Thursday's cancellation. But the "sound" of his voice, the golden warmth, was there - and in his final arias he did sing with greater conviction (especially his final lines) - and a shiver did run down my back!
His acting was exceptional, allowing the passion of his singing to convey Hoffmann's emotions, making him the standout performer on stage in terms of acting and singing. He was comical, he was sad, he was passionate, he was tragic. He was lost. He was Hoffmann!
Among the other singers Kristine Jepson's effortless soprano made a very enjoyable Nicklausse and Muse, Christine Rice's Giuletta was highly believable and Ekaterina Lekhina's Olympia was mechanically perfect (which should be read as a compliment). Gidon Sacks, although possessing certainly enough vocal heft in the bass passages, did have a slight mishap on the high denouement of "Scintille diamant", but overall he was a convincing bad guy – perhaps he will be better suited to the role a few years from now when he will have built up the required stamina.
Overall, it was a Sunday afternoon worth getting up at 6.00am for, and for this I have the performers, the orchestra (led by Pappano), the ushers of ROH and most importantly Offenbach (and his collaborators) for the musical feast I enjoyed – it certainly kept me warm on my return journey home!
Thanks a lot to Rhodri for his very interessting and very detailed report !
Freitag, 5. Dezember 2008
Thanks to Teresa for the information
Donnerstag, 4. Dezember 2008
Montag, 1. Dezember 2008
A spotless beautiful sunny day at Salzburg. Anna Netrebko, 37, the probably most celebrated opera diva of our times, greet for an exclusive conversation. The place: A salon at the classy hotel Sacher in view of the Salzach. Netrebko wears such an elegant as colourful Missoni-dress and is in a very good temper. The beam in the face which you likely assume young mothers - Netrebko has it. Her new CD "Souvenirs" (Deutsche Grammophon) is got very lightly. But it was recorded long before the birth of her son.
WELT ONLINE: Miss Netrebko, at her new CD "Souvenirs" do you sing folksongs and render homage to the operetta. The first track is out of Kálmáns "gypsy princess" and is called "Heia in den Bergen". Are you already afraid of the reactions ?
Netrebko: Why, no why should I. If it would be my first solo-announcement, ok. But I have already recorded some CDs and they were all very grave. Now I was up for something more lightly. You don't have to forget that I am out of a little town in the Russian province. There was only one theatre, in which operettas where staged, too. The “gipsy princess” was the first operetta I watched – this was a happening for a little girl.
WELT ONLINE: So the operetta was your first experience with the music theatre ?
Netrebko: Yes, that’s it. The “gipsy princess” was the reason cause I wanted on the stage. I made sheep’s eyes at the main role singer. She ward glamorous dresses and sang so beautiful. When she started to dance I was brimmed over with enthusiasm.
WELT ONLINE: And now you go back to your roots ?
Netrebko:“Souvenirs” isn’t a crossover at other genres. At last I don’t sing pop songs.
WELT ONLINE: But something of the musical-composer Andrew Lloyd Webber. His “Pie Jesu”- probably the hugest religious-feelings tearjerker since Gounod’s “Ave Maria”
Netrebko: But especially this track is connected with a memorization. At one of my first solo performances in St. Petersburg, in the middle 90’s, I sang “Pie Jesu”. If I finished, the audience didn’t stop applauding anymore. There were standing ovations, ach…
WELT ONLINE : And “Souvenirs” in general ? Whole personal memorization ?
Netrebko: No. Several tracks are connected with my memorizations and have a personal value for me – like the both Russian songs. But all in all is “Souvenirs” a colourful bouquet out of songs, operetta arias, in Russian, German, Yiddish, Czech.
WELT ONLINE: You’re taking a baby break at the moment. How have you experienced the pregnancy ?
Netrebko: I loved it to be pregnant. I had no nausea, no ravenousness attacks, nothing. Permanently I was asked by anybody, how I am, if can do something for me. I loved it !
WELT ONLINE: Did the birth changed you ?
Netrebko: Sure as a person, mother. I am mother now. As a singer – we will see. They say that the voice is going to be better after a pregnancy. So I am able to hope.
WELT ONLINE: Did you miss the stage ?
Netrebko: Not at all.
WELT ONLINE: Not afraid of being overtaken by other singers ?
Netrebko: No, no. But you have to know: I am not jealous on the success of others at all. Artist are sometimes horribly jealous and begrudgingly. And then singers – believe me: it is the hell. I am different. I can be happy about others’ accomplishments. I don’t wont to sing my own praises for it. It is a gift that happen upon me.
WELT ONLINE: In summer you had to stay on stage at the Salzburger Festspiele in “Roméo et Juliette”. Nino Machaidze celebrated the success taken your place.
Netrebko: I can understand if people are thinking, that this could be a problem for me, but it doesn’t. I attended heavily pregnant to one of the rehearsals und the first what I was asked by a man was: Isn’t it horrible for you, to be here because actually you were named to stay on stage ? I thought: No, actually I like being pregnant.
WELT ONLINE: Did the stranger thought that getting a baby is an unfortunate that happened to you and prevents you of your actual business ?
Netrebko: Apparently. Erwin, my fiancé, looked totally aghast at him. I had to pat his shoulder calmative.
WELT ONLINE: With Erwin you mean Erwin Schrott, your baby’s father and upcoming bass baritone. How do you have to imagine such a relation-ship ?
Netrebko: We talk about all. Not about music, but about literary, film, psychology. Things which are moving us.
WELT ONLINE: But this sounds very general.
Netrebko: I am sorry. Earlier I prattled away. Since the pregnancy I sometimes think that my head is blank, happy and probably still hormone fogged.
WELT ONLINE: In January you will resume your life as an opera diva at the Royal Opera House in London.
Netrebko: While my son is young, my life will not be changed too much. I will try to reduce the number of my performances. Only five instead of eight evenings pro season. Furthermore there are nannies. This is ok in exceptional cases. I not till then see a big problem, if our son have to go to school. Then we have to decide us for a principal residence.
WELT ONLINE: Don’t you have one at the moment ?
Netrebko: I have three: Vienna, St. Petersburg and NewYork.
WELT ONLINE: Nice. And where to go incline ?
Netrebko: Me in Vienna. But Erwin would prefer living in an Spanish speaking country.
WELT ONLINE: And this with a super German name.
Netrebko:Yes. But as you know he is born in Uruguay and doesn’t speak none German. It could easily happen, that we will be in Spain in a few years.
I'm sorry that I needed so long for posting it, but the translation needed so much time ; )
Donnerstag, 27. November 2008
I watched the show and I was so so happy to see Rolando ! His german is nearly perfect and his words were very personal and really honest. Thank you Rolando for being like you are: Just wonderful...
So here's finally the english translation of the video
Dear ladies and gentlemen y caballero!
Im very happy to be here. I am very honoured to be a friend of the next laureate. If he were an athlete, his successes would speak for themselves. He has sung in countless premiers at the grandest opera houses in the world, he has sung for the largest audience, has had the longest ovation, the most CD recordings, he has sung over 130 role. In conclusion, the list of his achievments is "e spectacular" ! But he isnt an athlete, and his art cannot be measured in numbers or records, it can only be experienced. E Chihuahua Maestro !
Maestro Plácido Domingo changed the world of opera. He combined the musician, the singer the actor. He is the complete singer and performer. Shortly after I participated in his talent competition, Operalia, I travelled to New York for an audition. There I met Maestro Domingo at the Metropolitan Opera and he asked me about my plans for the next day. My wife and I were staying for a few days in New York and he invited us spontaneously to Washington to attend his rehearsals together with him for "Le cid", in which he sang the lead role. Seeing him rehearse was one of the most important experiences I had as a young performer. Maestro Domingo combines his experience as a great opera performer with the ambition and fire of a young newcomer who has just received his first chance. He lives 100 % present in every moment. Only a burning soul can achieve all this, only an extraordinary talent together with an indefatigable passion can achieve all this. He has devoted his soul completely to music and drama, he combines his soul with his colleagues and yours, the audience. This Bambi is for a friend, and mentor, who is probably the greatest and most influential singer and performer of today.
He is one of the greatest tenors of all time. Plácido Domingo inspires his audience to true rapture. With the "Three Tenors" he entered into musical history - It is just fantastic that I am able to bring the cultures together with my music. Furthermore he campaigns with all his power for disadvantaged people and donates proceedings of his concerts to charity. Plácido Domingo fills opera houses just like the worlds biggest stadiums. With his wonderful voice and his warm-hearted aura he sings into the souls and the hearts of millions of people.
The classical Bambi, for 2008, goes to Plácido Domingo.
Thank you very much, thank you very much dear ladies and gentleman. Its a great honour for me...
I'm looking really forward to this CD, can't wait to buy it =)
Dienstag, 25. November 2008
Anna Netrebko wants to cut down: "Family life is the most important thing"
Opera star Anna Netrebko (37) wants to cut down after the birth of her son and reduce the number of her performances.
Hamburg - "I don't want carring more about the people on stage and backstage as for my own child, that I give to the nanny" said the opera diva Anna Netrebko at an interview with the professional magazine Das Opernglas (in the december's issue). "This is an appalling imagination!"
The russian soprano gave birth to a healthy boy at the beginning of september. Tiago Arua's father is the urugayan bass baritone Erwin Schrott (36).
"Our child should simply be a totally normal child", said Netrebko. Arranging career and family life will although not be easy.
"But I have already checked out how my colleagues manage this. If they manage it, I should be able to manage this, too especially I have a wonderful partner at my side, who is actually still more crazy about babies then myself."
The most important for her and Erwin Schrott is an intact and constant family life, said Netrebko. In the first years will the child presumably travel with them.
"But if the school will begin, we have to tought about in which country we want to live." Austria "is absolutely fantastic" but also Spain has a good chance.
After the babybreak Netrebko wants to return on stage in january 2009 with Donizetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor". She will sing Lucia in St. Petersburg and at the Met in New York.
"The dream team/couple of the opera" don't want to give collective concerts. "We aware don't want to mix private life and career too much" said Netrebko.
During her pregnancy she was afraid of loosing her voice, tells the operasinger. "At the 4th month I had interim anguish of loosing her. I needed much more time to recreat myself between two performances."
But it turned out to be that the reason was a pregnancy caused lack of iron.
I hope that the translation is ok =)
Montag, 24. November 2008
Conductor: Emmanuelle Haïm
Interpreters: Patrizia Ciofi, Rolando Villazón, Topi Lehtipuu
Orchestra: Le Concert d´Astrée
TV direction: Andreas Morell
Programm: Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda and arias out of Monteverdis "Scherzi musicali"
Thanks to dvedas for the information
Samstag, 22. November 2008
I think it's a very good interview, hope you enjoy it, too =)
Four years ago a hurricane blew on to the stage of the Royal Opera House. The opera was Offenbach’s The Tales of Hoffmann, the staging a creaky production still best known for its association with Plácido Domingo, who had sung the title role when it was new in 1980. But now it finally had a star worthy to succeed him, a dishevelled figure who stumbled down the stairs on his first stage entry in a frighteningly convincing display of inebriation, and proceeded to thrill us all evening with his reckless charisma.
His name was Rolando Villazón, a Mexican tenor, like Domingo, and possessed, like Domingo, of a darkly baritonal voice wedded to a magnetic stage presence. Suddenly we had a fitting vehicle for the demonic, pathetic, obsessive role of Hoffmann, the poet who can’t separate his Gothic fantasies from his own hopeless life.
Villazón’s performance, his Covent Garden debut, catapulted him into the stratosphere. “It’s one of the most beautiful memories of my career,” he says. I was there, too, and perhaps the most endearing sight was Villazón jumping up and down with excitement as he received his ovation.
Villazón still wears his heart on his sleeve. I think my Dictaphone will never be the same after an hour in close proximity to his exclamations and huge repertoire of quirky sound effects, which fulfil a vital function in propping up his vibrant but sometimes restricted English. But when I meet him at the Royal Opera House during rehearsals for his second Covent Garden run as Hoffmann, opening on Tuesday, he is troubled. “The story of Hoffmann should tell something that goes beyond just a good night at the opera,” he says, eyebrows twitching. “It’s beyond aesthetic impression, beyond entertainment.”
In part this is Villazón’s deeply ingrained commitment to the drama. I ask him about singing the title role in Don Carlo, a punishing role that he took on in May at Covent Garden to very mixed reviews, and if he’s defensive it’s only because he felt he missed out on the dramatic rather than the vocal demands. “I think there was one performance when I had an allergy, which was frustrating for me, not because I was not able to sing the notes, but because I was not able to portray the character.”
But Villazón’s passionate belief in opera “beyond aesthetic impression” goes farther than just histrionics. Last year Villazón almost walked away from his entire career, taking five months off from opera entirely. It was an audacious move, made all the more mysterious because his record label, Deutsche Grammophon, and management kept so quiet about it. It also opened up a huge debate about the 24/7 pressures facing the 21st-cen-tury opera singer.
So, what happened? “I was exhausted! And it was not necessarily vocal cords. My iron levels were low, I was in pain every week. I was trying to be close to my family, but at the same time giving interviews, promoting CDs, and recording, rehearsing and learning roles – it’s too much. It’s very hard to control your career. It’s a psychological goal you have to reach, to be happy not doing all the new productions, and all the wonderful concerts, that it’s actually fine to say no to most of them.”
He insists the break wasn’t to do with any great defects in his voice: more likely, in fact, that it was the inevitable result of the intensity with which he takes on every project, be it a CD (his most recent release, the passionate but patchy Cielo e Mar, is a good example) or a staged opera. “I always knew that with my way of being there was going to be a moment of pain. I just never thought it was going to happen so soon.”
And yet what began as a simple rest cure has taken on deeper implications. Villazón, who when we meet is clutching a a dog-eared copy of Tolstoy’s What is Art?, wants opera, and his place in it, to change fundamentally. “When I stopped I could have stopped for five weeks. I stopped for half a year. I needed to think: why do I do this? Is it for vanity? Is it just for entertainment? No. We need to look for that message that lies in every real artwork.”
It’s a war Villazón is now actively waging, albeit a tad erratically. When he launched Cielo et Mar in the UK, at a lunchtime reception at the Royal Opera House, he insisted on treating his corporate hosts to a speech in which he railed against consumerism. He sings the same tune now, castigating not just himself, but the record industry, the public and the media for trivialising the art-form. “I think the art of singing has become like a sports event with all the celebrity around it. If the hype around opera singers is not sustained by real work and by real talent, it goes away. Fame used to be associated with respect.”
At no point does Villazón warm more to this theme, a colourful Jeremiad about the health of the Western world, than when I touch upon his much-discussed partnership with Anna Netrebko. The two prize assets of Deutsche Grammophon were aggressively marketed by the label as a duo, particularly in Germany and Austria, and until recently they sang together frequently on stage.
They also appear this Christmas in a glossy film adaptation of Puccini’s La Bohème. “A story was told through pictures about me and Anna that was not true or correct,” Villazón recently commented, an observation he now struggles to retract. “It was abused . . .” he concurs, before pausing, perhaps to consider what his label bosses might make of his words. “I think the CD label was just taking what journalism had done already – the ‘dream couple’, the ‘ traumpaar’ – and the whole thing that happened was born in the press. It sustained a couple of projects and then we go to perform with other artists. The danger is to make it all about that. But that’s the problem of our time. Fame obscures.”
I wonder just how much Villazón can really achieve of his twin goals: personal-professional balance, a recording career without the celebrity fluff. He talks of reducing commitments before revealing that he has just jetted off to Berlin to sing for Daniel Barenboim, “one of the most fulfilling nights of my life”. And he admits that image and personality not only bring new converts to opera, but are also essential on stage. “It’s a struggle. You need your individuality, you need a certain arrogance. You cannot just be an empty glass.”
Most of all I wonder whether Villazón really can overcome that “way of being”, that nerve-shredding focus on finding the drama in everything he takes part in. Could he, if only for the sake of his mental well-being, simply accept that opera might just be a job? “Yes, it’s a job, but it’s not a job. It doesn’t finish when you go home. You go home thinking of your character. Your kids go to school and then in the walk from school to home I keep asking myself – what is the purpose of art? It’s a way of living, being a performer.”
Thank Mrs Villazón, a psychologist, for bearing all this angst. “She has been the rock I can hold on to. Without her I would not be here.” So thank her, too, then, for this second crack at Hoffmann.“Four years ago it was still too much about my first Hoffmann, my first Covent Garden . . . it was still too much about Rolando Villazón. Now it’s going to be about Offenbach.” Just remember that after the ovations he’ll keep wondering whether he managed it.
Montag, 17. November 2008
Samstag, 15. November 2008
Unfortunately, their are other songs between the report. I hope you will like it despite of this =)
Ps: I'm sorry for, that you have to download this before you can listen to, but I wasn't able to make it different. Sorry...
Thanks to dvedas for the information
Donnerstag, 13. November 2008
Anna will give a recital together with Daniel Barenboim on 17th August with songs from Riminisky-Korsakov and Tchaikovsky. Rolando will give a concert conducted by Paul McCreesh on o2nd August with songs from Händel.
The impetus for tickets is always very huge, so if you want to get any tickets you should better hurry up ! Click here if you want to get on the Salzburger Festspiele page.
Mittwoch, 12. November 2008
Thanks to dvedas for the information
Dienstag, 11. November 2008
I can only hope that the impetus for the tickets for her recital at the Salzburger Festspiele 2009 together with conductor Daniel Barenboim will not be so enormous. Like I announced already in "Anna's and Rolando's calendar" the official programm will be published tomorrow and the ticket sale will begin !
Samstag, 8. November 2008
News: How are you and how do you experience your new role as a mother ?
Netrebko: I'm feeling gorgeous. I love it to be mother and I'm totally besotted with Tiago. Certainly the whole routine is completely conformed to Tiago - he is still so young and must eat and sleep regularly. So we adapt us.
News: If you see Erwin Schrott on stage: Do you get aspiration to perform soon by yourself ? Do you miss the stage ?
Netrebko: I love my profession and I am sure looking forward to stay at the stage again. But at the moment I am more than content with my life.
News: Have you already again started to sing and how do get along with your voice ?
Netrebko: I maintain what I have dealed with namely that I definitely will not sing "really" two months after the nativity. Nobody could do this. Now I slowly start trying. But I know, nothing come back immediately. You have to work on it.
News: Are you afraid of that your voice is changing ?
Netrebko: I am not afraid of it at all. I have a strong technique and a good breath control. Although I hope that nothing will happen to my voice and that all will be ok. And when the voice will although be changing one day, I will account this for my repertoire.
I hope that the translation is ok =)
Freitag, 7. November 2008
Emmerich Kálmán: Heia, in den Bergen
The eponymous "csárdás princess" of Kálmán's ever-popular 1915 operetta Die Csárdásfürstin (in English usually, though imprecisely, called The Gypsy Princess) is Sylva Varescu, a Hungarian cabaret singer who becomes engaged to a prince. Sylva's dazzling opening number, sung on the stage of her chic Budapest nightclub, mixes Magyar exoticism with Viennese charm.
Richard Heuberger: Im chambre séparée
In the operetta Der Opernball, Heuberger's 1898 masterpiece, the housemaid Hortense disguises herself as a masked lady to attend a glamorous Parisian opera ball. In this seductive duet, she invites the attractive young naval cadet Henri to join her in a private room for a "tête à tête".
Franz Lehár: Meine Lippen, Sie küssen so heiss
In Lehár's bittersweet 1934 operetta Giuditta, the beautiful heroine abandons her husband to be with Octavio, an army captain. When he leaves her to pursue his military career, she becomes a night-club performer in North Africa - and a rather successful one, it would seem from this, the operetta's hit number.
Gustave Charpentier: Depuis le jour
The heroine of Charpentier's Louise is a Parisian dressmaker who has fallen in love with the bohemian poet Julien, but their relationship scandalizes her narrow-minded parents. In this, the opera's most famous aria, Louise tells her lover that her life has become one of indescribable happiness since she met him. At the end of the opera she abandons her parents to live with him - a surprisingly modern ending for an opera written in the 1890s.
Jacques Offenbach: Belle nuit, ô nuit d'amour (Barcarolle)
In Offenbach's 1881 opera Les contes d'Hoffmann, we witness the poet E.T.A. Hoffmann's doomed love-affairs in three cities. This famous duet, sung by the courtesan Giulietta and Hoffmann's friend Nicklausse (a mezzo role), is set on a Venetian lagoon. Offenbach originally composed it for his ill-fated romantic opera Die Rheinnixen, but it found a happier home in this, his last and greatest work.
Richard Strauss: Cäcilie
Strauss presented this ravishing song to the soprano Pauline de Ahna, his bride-to-be, on the day before their wedding in 1894. The text was the poet Heinrich Hart's tribute to his own wife, Cäcilie. Although Strauss and his spouse were opposites in temperament - he was phlegmatic and de Ahna fiery - this ecstatic piece proved prophetic of their long union.
Edvard Grieg: Solveig's song
Solveig is the patient and long-suffering love of Peer Gynt's life, but he abandons her to seek adventure in the world. Solveig nevertheless sings of her love for Peer in this haunting lullaby, composed by Grieg for the first performance of Ibsen's play in 1876.
André Messager: Lorsque je n'étais qu'une enfant
In Messanger's 1907 opera Fortunio - a great success at Pari's Opéra-Comique - Jacqueline is using the naive young Fortunio as a decoy to draw attention from her real love affair with a soldier. When Fortunio reveals how deeply he loves her, she rejects him.
Antonín Dvorák: Kdyz mne stará matka
Dvorák composed a cycle of Gypsy Melodies to texts by the poet Adolf Heyduk in 1880, and this sweetly sentimental ballad from the set has become his best-known song, famous in English under the title Songs My Mother Taught Me. He made this Czech version of the song soon after setting the original German text.
Richard Strauss: Wiegenlied - Lullaby
Strauss composed this rapt, haunting lullaby in 1899 to a poem by Richard Dehmel, and dedicated it to his friend Mme. Marie Rösche (née Ritter). The accompaniment was originally for piano, but Strauss himself later adapted it for orchestra.
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov: Ne veter, veya s visoti
Not the wind, blowing from the heights
This charming song, comparing the effect of the wind on the poet's body to the effect that his beloved has on his soul, was composed in 1897 to a text by Count Aleksei Tolstoy (a relation of the novelist Leo Tolstoy). This, and the following song, are both orchestrated here for the first time.
Nikolai Rimsky-Karsakov: Plenivshis' rozoy, solovey
Eslaved by the rose, the nightingale
Rimsky-Korsakov wrote his Oriental romance in 1866, and dedicated it to Malvina, the wife of his friend and fellow-composer César Cui. The words are from an 1831 poem by Aleksei Kol'tsov, written in imitation of the style of the literary giant Aleksandr Pushkin. With its sinuous faux-oriental melody, it reflects the fascination with the eastern reaches of the empire which pervaded Russian culture at the time.
Schlof sche, mein Vögele - Sleep well, my little bird
Very little is known about the origins of this traditional Yiddish lullaby, but its sad and tender beauty has ensured that it touches hearts whenever it is performed.
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Pie Jesu
Lloyd Webber's 1985 Requiem was written as a response to the harrowing plight of Cambodian orphans in the early 1980s, as well as to the death of his father in 1982. It was an immediate success, and later won a Grammy. The Pie Jesu, a duet for soprano and boy treble, also rose surprisingly high in the UK pop charts.
Reynaldo Hahn: L'énamourée - The loved one
The Venezuelan-born Hahn composed his first song aged eight and entered the Paris Conservatoire at ten. This exquisite and pensive melody dates from 1892, when he was still only 17.
Carlos Guastavino: La rosa y el sauce
Guastavino's reputation is based almost entirely on his songs. Luscious, tonal and influenced by folk music, they have been enormously popular in the composers's native Argentina since the 1940s - La rosa y el sauce (The Rose and the Willow) from 1942 is one of the best known. In recent decades their appeal has been spreading around the rest of the world.
Gerónimo Giménez: La tarántula é un bicho mú malo
Giménez's zarzuela (a form of Spanish operetta with a high proportion of dialogue) La tempranica (The Headstrong Girl) was a huge hit at its premiere in Madrid in 1900. It tells the story of María, a young gypsy who falls in love with a nobleman but who comes to realize that their love is impossible. La tarántula, a lively zapateado (a Spanish dance in triple time), is performed as a diversion by María's brother Grabié, a trouser role.
The italian composer, violinist and the conductor Luigi Arditi toured the world before deciding to settle down in London in his 30s. It was there that he wrote this, his most popular song, in 1860. Il bacio (The Kiss) has been a favourite ever since among singers possessing a good coloratura technique.
The following two videos are about the recording of "Souvenirs". The first video shows the recording of "Belle nuit, ô nuit d'amour" (Barcarolle) together with latvian mezzo-soprano Elina Garanca and the second video shows the recording of "Heia, in den Bergen".
If you click here you can watch another video about the recording. There are short interviews with Anna, Emmanuel Villaume, Elina Garanca, Andrew Swait and Anna's vocal couch Elena Matusovskaya. Furthermore you can watch parts of the recording of "Pie Jesu", "Barcarolle" and "Heia, in den Bergen".