Tag: Anne Sofie von Otter

Bach – B minor mass / NY Phil / 3-15-13

(Detailed impressions of this concert from the performance on 3-13 here.)

This time around I was sitting in the middle of the orchestra section, about 1/3 to 1/2 of the way back from the stage. The sound was distinctly different here. I could hear the harpsichord, for one thing. In addition, aside from everything in general being a little louder, I could hear all the individual brass and woodwind parts with much more clarity. The solo oboe was particularly impressive – both in the first mezzo solo and in the bass aria towards the end of the Credo.

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Gluck – Alceste / Théâtre du Châtelet 2000 (3)

(Previous section here.)

But enough of the heavy stuff. This is a really beautiful performance of Gluck’s opera. All of the roles, from the herald (the same performer, Ludovic Tezier, sings the infernal god that Alceste and Admete converse with towards the end) to Evil Legolas the high priest/Hercules on upward are well worth hearing.

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Gluck – Alceste / Théâtre du Châtelet 2000 (2)

(Previous section here.)

In this production you hear a lot of the chorus, and the choral singing, by the Monteverdi Choir, is always exciting and expressive – this is evident immediately, in the very first scene, where a herald addresses the people and tells them that Admete is dying and they react with lamentations. But you don’t see the chorus. What you see instead are dancers.

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Gluck – Alceste / Théâtre du Châtelet 2000 (1)

The eighteenth century. Age of revolutions, the Enlightenment, a boom in the Atlantic slave trade and sometimes when people went to hear Gluck’s operas they ended the evening flopping about on the floor sobbing. These are probably some of the same people who read Werther and decided to blow their brains out in sympathy. Zeitgeist, I guess. Or maybe it was Klopstock. I really don’t know.

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