Glyndebourne 75th Anniversary Concert, Glyndebourne, June 2009

Fireworks after the concert

Fireworks after the concert

This lovely concert, celebrating 75 years since the founding of the Glyndebourne Opera in 1934, featured several singers who are performing this season, mainly in Falstaff, but also in RusalkaThe Fairy Queen and Giulio Cesare. It also featured others with a strong Glyndebourne connection, such as Gerald Finley, Sarah Connolly, Emma Bell, and Kate Royal, who were all in the Glyndebourne chorus at one time, along with such luminaries as Thomas Allen, Sergei Leiferkus, Felicity Lott, and Anne Sofie von Otter. The orchestra played stirringly under the baton of music director Vladimir Jurowski, and I particularly liked the performances of Thomas Allen as Figaro in Act I of Rossini’s Barber, of Gerald Finley as Wolfram in Act III of Tannhäuser, of Sergei Leiferkus as the eponymous character in Rachmaninov’s Aleko, of Anne Sofie von Otter singing the habañera from Carmen, of Felicity Lott and Thomas Allen singing the delightful duet between Hanna and Danilo at the end of Lehar’s Merry Widow, plus Felicity Lott, Anne Sofie von Otter, and Lucy Crowe in the final trio from Rosenkavalier. A list of what was performed is given below — unfortunately Brandon Jovanovich was unable to sing, so his excerpt from Werther and his presence as Otello in the first item were cancelled. Apart from this the only disappointment was Danielle de Niese as Norina in Act I of Don Pasquale, whose voice seemed somewhat screechy in a cavatina that lacked the charm and subtlety it ought to have had.

Otello: Paolo Battaglia as Montano, Gerald Finley as Iago, Alasdair Elliott as Roderigo and Peter Hoare as Cassio sang the beginning of Act I before the entry of Otello.

Il Barbiere di Siviglia: Thomas Allen sang Largo al facotum, Figaro’s description of his own occupation in Act I. This was delightful and really got the evening going.

L’italiana in Algeri: Marie-Nicole Lemieux went from suffering to scheming in Isabella’s Cruda sorte! from Act I.

Don Pasquale: Danielle de Niese sang Norina’s Quel guardo il cavaliere, but seemed to be trying too hard.

La clemenza di Tito: Sarah Connolly sang Sesto’s Act I aria Parto, parto ma tu, ben mio to his beloved Vittelia.

Idomeneo: Emma Bell as Elletra joined the Glyndebourne chorus singing Placido è il mar, evoking a calm sea and the prospect of a prosperous voyage, before the onset of a terrifying storm at the end of Act II.

Die Meistersinger: the orchestral prelude to Act III.

Tannhäuser: Gerald Finley sang Wolfram’s melancholy farewell to Elisabeth, O du mein holder Abendstern, addressed to the evening star.

Khovanshchina: Larissa Diadkova gave a powerful rendering of Martha’s prophecy to Prince Golitsyn in Act II, predicting his disgrace and exile.

Aleko: Sergei Leiferkus sang a cavatina by the eponymous character in this Rachmaninov opera. He sang superbly, with excellent diction.

Carmen: Anne Sofie von Otter sang the habañera, her body, arm and hand movements conveying Carmen’s cavalier attitude to love.

Manon: Kate Royal sang Adieu notre petite table from Act II, as she prepares to deceive Des Grieux and leave the home she has shared with him.

Die lustige Witwe: Felicity Lott and Thomas Allen sang that wonderful duet Lippen schweigen between Hanna and Danilo at the end of the opera.

La Boheme: Ana Maria Martinez sang Mimi’s charming Si, mi chiamano Mimi from Act I.

Der Rosenkavalier: Felicity Lott as the Marschallin, Anne Sofie von Otter as Octavian, and Lucy Crowe as Sophie in the trio at the end of the opera, starting with the Marschallin’s Hab’mir’s gelobt.

Le nozze di Figaro: The finale of the opera with Kate Royal as the Countess, Gerald Finley as the Count, Jennifer Holloway as Cherubino, Danielle de Niese as Susanna, and Matthew Rose as Figaro.

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