Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Verdi's Giovanna d'Arco on Austria's Ö1 Radio – But Only for a Few Days

Austria's Ö1 radio has a great archive system called 7 Tage Ö1, which holds broadcasts for replay for ... um, 7 days. I highly recommend it for everything, but in particular, I enjoyed Saturday’s concert performance of Giovanna d'Arco with Placido Domingo, Anna Netrebko, and some other singers. (I'm being facetious  It's a strong cast all around.) Paolo Carignani conducts the Philharmonia Chor Wien and the Münchner Rundfunkorchester.

I love Placido to bits, but it's true he'll never be a baritone, and while he sounds good, I kind of wish he'd make room for some of our younger baritones. It's very interesting to listen to Anna Netrebko in a "pure" way. In other words, listening to a soprano singing Verdi, not listening to Netrebko singing Verdi. Even without all the hype, she is an impressive singer/interpreter, and she does some lovely pianissimo singing in this performance. Francesco Meli is a new tenor to me, and I was impressed with his performance, too.

I'd not heard this opera before. It's short on plot but long on tunes, and filled with tons of nifty choral work, too. It would be interesting to see a staging. I imagine it would be tough to do convincingly, though I bet we could name a few directors who could do it justice. (Based on her recent interview, however, I guess we won't be seeing AN on stage in the title role any time soon...or ever.)

Anyway, my point is, it will be online for about 5 more days, so go give it a listen. The most you have to lose is about two hours, and I don’t think you’ll find it was a total waste of time. If you hang in after the finale, you can hear a Lady Macbeth track from Anna's new Verdi recording (due today in the U.S.)!

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