Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Reviews for Bartoli’s West Side Story at the Salzburg Whitsun Festival have been overwhelmingly unkind. The Kurier’s headline: Bartoli singt Musical: Leider nur somehow (Bartoli sings a musical, sadly just somehow) Merkur: Cecilia Bartoli als (zu) späte Maria (Bartoli as too-late Maria) Die Presse : A melancholy West Side Story. Der Standard is a tad kinder about Cecilia sharing the role on stage with a young actress, Michelle Veintimilla. © Salzburger Festspiele/ Silvia Lelli
“Martin … first rose to prominence in the mid-nineties writing a string of hits for [Britney] Spears, Backstreet Boys and [Justin] Timberlake. … Bartoli, from Rome, Italy, is best known for her interpretations of the music of Mozart and Rossini, and has seen her solo releases achieve enormous success.” Each receives a cash award of 1 million Swedish kronor (currently $118.000).
The Polar Prize winners for 2016 have just been announced, one from serious music the other from pop. The Italian mezzo will receive 1m Swedish crowns (about $150,000). A Swedish songwriter known as Max Martin is her opposite number. Past winners include Chuck Berry, Björk, Steve Reich and Peter Sellars. The winners get to make a big, world-relayed speech. UPDATE: The announcement video, with anachronistic commentary and a gormless interviewer:
It’s hall happening on Wigmore Street this week. Reading backwards, on Friday night a pianist of advanced years will make his belated debut. Simon Rattle, the name is. There has been a late programme change here. Thursday evening, the guvnor John Gilhooly will go live online to break the new season, including – for the first time – live streaming. And more. Twice as many £5 tickets for under-35s. Apparently, parts of the Wigmore Hall have undergone a demographic metamorphosis. A woman composer in residence. Cecilia Bartoli. Brigitte Fassbender. An Igor Levitt Beethoven cycle. Debuts by Barbara Hannigan and Emmanuelle Haïm. The Wigmore just carries on reinventing itself. Don’t miss the launch. Selections from the press release below. Artistic Director, John Gilhooly doubles the number of £5 tickets for under 35s for 2016/17 Wigmore Hall season announced today Doubling of number of £5 tickets offered to under 35s New digital capability of Wigmore Hall further extended internationally with new partnership with medici.tv Helen Grime becomes Wigmore Hall’s first female Composer in Residence Major artist residencies and series from trumpeter Alison Balsom, pianists Angela Hewitt, Igor Levit & Francesco Piemontesi; violinists Janine Jansen & Patricia Kopatchinskaja; harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani and Takács Quartet Vibrant Early Music & Baroque Series includes Arcangelo with Jonathan Cohen as first Baroque Ensemble in Residence, plus performances by Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Les Arts Florissants, Collegium Vocale Gent, Le Poème Harmonique, The Sixteen, The Tallis Scholars, La Venexiana, Vox Luminis Major contemporary music with Thomas Adès Day ‘Arcadiana’, Ensemble 360: Music in the Round weekend and 52 major premieres including 25 world premieres of Wigmore Hall co-commissions Return concerts for Cecilia Bartoli, Philippe Jaroussky, Sir András Schiff, and Violeta Urmana Masterclasses by Brigitte Fassbaender and Sir András Schiff Wigmore debut recitals from René Pape and Barbara Hannigan. Emmanuelle Haïm makes her debut as a conductor Christian McBride returns and celebrated pianist Vijay Iyer becomes Jazz Artist in Residence Schubert: The Complete Songs continues with outstanding and compelling visions of the composer’s late song-cycles, as well as the songs in English as part of Wigmore Hall’s Learning programme Wigmore Hall’s rich legacy of great performances, artistic revelations and creative daring is set to grow throughout the 2016/17 season. The Hall’s Chief Executive and Artistic Director John Gilhooly was last Sunday named as one of Britain’s 500 most influential people in Debrett’s 2016 People of Today list, published in The Sunday Times. He announces his bold new 2016/17 programme on Thursday 28 January, shortly before a performance given by an ensemble of remarkable young artists. The season launch and subsequent concert is the first event to be streamed live from Wigmore Hall, inaugurating an online series designed to broaden international access to Europe’s leading venue for chamber music, early music and song. It was also announced that Wigmore Hall’s 115th Anniversary Gala Concerts on 31 May, 1 & 2 June 2016 will be streamed live in partnership with medici.tv . Wigmore Hall now attracts capacity audiences to many of its 488 concerts each year,’ observes John Gilhooly. ‘We want to share the experience of great music-making with the greatest possible number of people. This is why we created a world-class digital studio as part of our £2.1 million building infrastructure upgrade last year. I am also delighted to announce that, as a result of its overwhelming success, we will increase our £5 ticket scheme for Under-35s from 10,000 tickets this season to 20,000 tickets in 2016/17. Our digital capability and work to attract new and younger audiences belong to the Hall’s vitally important investment in its future.’ Wigmore Hall’s complete survey of Schubert’s 600-plus songs, launched in September 2015 and presented in partnership with Austria’s Schubertiade Schwarzenberg and Hohenems festival, unfolds with 20 concerts across the new season. The series offers the chance to hear many of the world’s finest Schubert interpreters and a carefully chosen group of exceptional young talent. This season’s roster of distinguished Schubertians – singers and pianists – includes Florian Boesch, Robert Holl, Graham Johnson, Simon Keenlyside,Elisabeth Kulman, Stephan Loges, Malcolm Martineau, Georg Nigl, Mauro Peter, Christoph Prégardien, Anna Lucia Richter, Dorothea Röschmann, Markus Schäfer, Sir András Schiff, Violeta Urmana and Elizabeth Watts. The series contains complete performances ofWinterreise with Matthew Rose and Gary Matthewman (15 February), Die schöne Müllerin with Henk Neven and Imogen Cooper (11 April), and Schwanengesang with Ian Bostridge and Lars Vogt (10 May). The song-cycles can also be heard in new English translations by Jeremy Sams, performed under the umbrella of Wigmore Hall’s Learning programme by Toby Spence, Roderick Williams, Sir John Tomlinson and Christopher Glynn. Several substantial new series come to Wigmore Hall in 2016/17. Igor Levit starts his first complete survey of Beethoven’s piano sonatas in a major concert hall, comprising a total of eight concerts. Beethoven Cycle: Igor Levit opens on 28 September with four works, including the early Piano Sonata No. 1 in F minor Op. 2 No. 1 and the dramatic ‘Waldstein’ Sonata. Takács Quartet: Beethoven String Quartet Cycle presents a prominent platform for Wigmore Hall’s internationally acclaimed Associate Artists to explore some of the greatest works in the chamber music canon. The Takács Quartet’s series starts on 3 February 2017 and unfolds with five further concerts. Angela Hewitt: The Bach Odyssey, devised by John Gilhooly to run over several seasons, starts on 25 September and continues on 20 January and 10 June. The divinely-inspired composer’s keyboard fantasies, inventions and sinfonias provide the creative launch pad for this landmark series, which will grow in 2016/17 to include a complete survey of the French Suites. Harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani, also at John’s request, begins a long-term survey of Bach’s keyboard works on 21 December with theGoldberg Variations.
From an interview with the brochure of the Salzburg Whitsun Festival (which she directs): What unites Cleopatra, Norma, Cenerentola, Iphigénie and Maria? First of all, quite simply: they are women – just like the artistic director of the Whitsun Festival! As the first woman in this position, of course I am interested in highlighting certain aspects from that perspective. More specifically, each of these figures stands for certain facets of womanhood, and how these have been viewed and illuminated in different ways in the arts throughout the centuries. Since the artists were and are most often men, we find highly telling reflections and refractions – it often seems to me that we learn more about the male and his perspective than about the female model… For five years now, exploring these female figures and their surroundings within a few days and throughout very different artistic genres has been the programme of my Whitsun Festival. Ms. Bartoli, the programme book of the Salzburg Whitsun Festival quotes you as saying that you are looking forward with almost child-like glee to the role of Maria? I find the piece and the music fantastic – to me, it is among the very greatest stage works of the 20th century! I love its energy, the rhythms, the infectious swing of it, the Latin temperament, the witty dialogue, the honest, moving grief… Perhaps it is my flamenco past coming through, even if we are moving into another style here… Since I have known the songs from West Side Story all my life, they are closer to me than a lot of other music. After all those queens, goddesses, heroines of antiquity and fairy-tale princesses, I am especially happy to be portraying a girl like you and me. The figure of Maria, the simple, warm-hearted, serious, dreamy and honest neighbourhood girl, is very close to me personally. I was like her once! And at the bottom of my heart, I am still like her…
This 2 – CD album features Renée Fleming , Anna Netrebko, Cecilia Bartoli, Angela Gheorghiu, Kiri Te Kanawa , Anne Sofie von Otter, and many more! Ten ladies in total… Ten singers sing for us highlight arias from Cosi Fan Tutte, Turandot, Marriage of Figaro, Manon, Don Carlo, La Boheme, Tosca, Magic Flute, and many others. Each CD contains 15 arias… I feel that this is a great sampler from two perspectives: If you don’t know one or more of the singers, here’s your chance to get familiar with a whole bunch, and you can decide on your favorites, and potentially which one or two you’d rather skip. And… the same goes for the many operas from which these selections are taken. I, for one, cannot see how anyone would not love arias from Magic Flute, or Marriage of Figaro, or Cosi Fan Tutte. However, it’s possible that Don Carlo or Turandot are too serious for you, so you can easily make that determination from this collection. My experience is the madams Fleming, Bartoli, and Te Kanawa are great!! You can make your own decisions on the other 7 and feel free to write a comment at the end of this Blog (thanks!) Here is Dame Kiri Te Kanawa singing “Beim Schlafengehen” from Vier Letzte Lieder by Richard Strauss; the conductor is the late Sir Georg Solti:
Great opera singers