Friday, November 9, 2012

Gratuitous Friday – Hvorostovsky & Kaufmann sing Bizet

I think the only complaint one could possibly have about the beautiful duet Au fond du Temple Saint is that Bizet didn't write more like it. 

It’s good to remember that Bizet was quite a melodist, and did write other stuff besides Carmen—not a lot—but there is other stuff. In general, however, there simply are not enough tenor/baritone duets in the opera world!

One of the joys of hearing these two men sing together is their very similar tone, and I notice especially how well their vibratos mesh. I find the warmth of their two voices very seductive, and when they hit a unison, they are really singing as one. Some listeners might wish for a brighter-toned tenor to combine with Dmitri Hvorostovsky (just read some of the insane YouTube comments. Better yet, don’t read them!)

One of these days I should stop being impressed whenever Jonas Kaufmann sings in French. It seems like his voice would be too heavy for French music, and yet he sounds very comfortable, if not totally idiomatic. (How many non-French tenors do sound stereotypically/idiomatically French?) One could prefer a different tone quality, but no one should question his artistry.

Bizet: Les pêcheurs de perles 
Au fond du Temple Saint

Special thanks to the person who posted this clip. I appreciate having the text and translation right there. There are at least two more duets available from this concert. I will post the Don Carlo excerpt soon. Let’s hear more!

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