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Posts Tagged ‘Miah Persson’

Exsultate!

In Classical Music, Opera, Review on November 28, 2014 at 2:10 pm

Review – Miah Persson (Wigmore Hall, Wednesday 26 November 2014)

The Orchestra of Classical Opera
Ian Page (Conductor)

Joyous.

Simply the best description of this recital by soprano Miah Persson and the Orchestra of Classical Opera conducted by Ian Page.

I’ve long admired Miah Persson. She is an exemplary performer, investing both intelligence and passion into her performances combined with flawless technique. Her early recording of Mozart arias – Un moto di gioia – remains a favourite of mine. Fast-forwarding to today, her soprano has now developed a warm, burnished tone and depth, with a pleasing vibrato but with absolutely no loss of flexibility, brightness nor range.

Ms Persson is an instinctive Mozartian and her Exsultate, jubilate was joyous. Clarion-clear diction was matched with real investment in the – albeit – religious words. And taken a quite a zip under the baton of Ian Page, Ms Persson not only skillfully negotiated the sometimes tricky coloratura but ensured it remained knitted seamlessly to the entire piece rather than simply being bravura for bravura’s sake. Indeed, I am not usually a fan of this motet as it is often over-performed, but last night at Wigmore Hall I rediscovered its charm, simplicity and overall beauty.

Despite having written one of my dissertations at university on Haydn’s opera even I admit that his stage works, on the whole, have moments of greatness rather than greatness overall. The strength of Haydn’s operas for me is the marriage with his symphonic prowess and “alternate” world view of the form.

That’s not to say however that I wouldn’t love to see them performed with more regularity and Ms Persson made a very persuasive case.

Her flawless vocal control brought incredible poise and heightened emotion to the first aria, Navicella da vento agitate from Il marchese which was echoed in the third selection written twenty-five years later, Aure chete, verdi allori from Orlando Paladino. But it was in Amore nel mio petto from Lo speziale that allowed Ms Persson to display her dramatic talents in communicating the character’s indecision. And she was perfectly complemented by the delicate playing of principal oboist James Eastaway whose resonant tone perfectly balanced the vocal opulence of Ms Persson.

Indeed, she was accompanied throughout by the excellent players of The Orchestra of Classical Opera throughout. And in the two symphonies that book-ended the concert they shone with enthusiasm, precision and verve. With its opening slow movement, harking back to an earlier era, they effortlessly switched from the intensity of the opening movement of Haydn’s Symphony No. 21 to the moto perpetuo of the ensuing Presto. Then Ian Page and his players found that rustic charm that is often so present in the composer’s minuets of this period before launching with full-blooded confidence into a vigorously rhythmic Finale.

Mozart’s Symphony No. 29 is one of my favourites and perfectly balanced the Haydn in terms of emotional intensity. I love the contrapuntal yearning that Mozart weaves throughout the opening movement, the elegiac Andante with its sonorous wind writing, the rusticity of the minuet and trio and then vigour of the final movement. And just as in the Haydn, The Orchestra of Classical Opera played each and every note as if their lives depended on them. Simply invigorating.

So if you haven’t already, book your tickets for Classical Opera’s exciting 2015 Season but the most wonderful thing about this particular evening? That Wigmore Hall has recorded the entire performance for their own label and our continued enjoyment.

The release of this disc cannot come too soon.

Aria For … Thursday – Nehmt meinen Dank, ihr holden Gönner! (Mozart)

In Aria For ..., Classical Music, Mozart on January 30, 2014 at 11:32 am

This is a gem of an aria. Written by Mozart for Aloysia Lange née Weber, she was Costanze’s sister and Mozart’s original love if reports are to be believed.

Even though his love was never reciprocated, Mozart wrote some of his most stunning and heartfelt arias– both concert and operatic – for Aloysia who clearly had formidable talent. She was his Vienna Donna Anna for example as well as the recipient of concert arias including Popoli di Tessaglia and Verrei spiegarvi. Oh Dio!.

Yet compared to those arias, Nehmt meinen Dank, ihr holden Gönner! seems beguiling simple and belies the obvious talents that Ms Weber possessed.

Written in 1782 the text portrays an artist thanking her patrons for their support. It’s not clear why the aria was written, some have speculated it was for a benefit concert by Ms Lange as an encore piece and others have speculate that it was an insertion aria for a German performance of Paisiello’s Il barbiere di Siviglia.

I lean toward the first option and sung here by Miah Persson – with such grace and delicacy – and accompanied with elegant simplicity by the Swedish Chamber Orchestra under Sebastian Weigle, I can see why it often features as an encore for today’s recitalists.

The two-verse aria doesn’t attempt to plumb the emotional depths of some other Mozart aria but charms with its simplicity – the pizzicato strings, the added warmth provided by the woodwind, above which Mozart’s creates an almost lieder-like melody.

And Mozart skilfully constructs this aria to provide ample opportunity for embellishment by the singer. I have no doubt that Ms Weber would perhaps have indulged in more ornamentation but the restrained and simple additions by Ms Persson fit the music perfectly.

Nehmt meinen Dank always raises a smile with me and is a great way to start the day.

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