|(E) Croatian tenor - A Star Is Born in Berlin
|By Nenad N. Bach |
Culture And Arts
(E) Croatian tenor - A Star Is Born in Berlin
Subj:Kresimir Spicer (pronounced Shpitzer!
Dolje je kompletni tekst MusAm clanka reproduciranog na WQXR.com
oznacio sam s --> djelove koji se odnose na Spicera i njegov skorasnji
nastup u Brooklynu, ako zelite skratiti ili izostaviti oatatak, iako je
opis Olge BorodinA (accEnt on the last syllAble!) i Dominga zabavan (i
poucan? - sugestije za skracenje i izostavljanje oznacene s (~ / ~)
Classical News from Musical America.com
Daily stories from the business source for the performing arts.
A Star Is Born in Berlin
by Paul Moor, MusicalAmerica.com
Wednesday, February 6th 2002
BERLIN -- Since Kent Nagano took over the leadership of the
Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester, Berliners have grown accustomed to some
fairly extravagant ideas of programming, but this week must have set some
kind of record.
Monday's night's began with Luciano Berio's 1968 realization of
Claudio Monteverdi's 1624 cantata "Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda"
(The Conflict Between Tancred and Clorinda). After that came a 40-year-old
echo of that unmissed aberrational phase of Europe's musical avant-garde
that called itself "instrumental theater," György Ligeti's "Aventures."
Only after the intermission did the part come that had justified the
concert's billing as "gala": a concert performance of Act 2 of Camille
St.-Saėns's opera "Samson et Dalila," flaunting two of today's stellar
vocalists, Olga Borodina and Plįcido Domingo.
(~Even at gala prices, a capacity audience packed Berlin's
Philharmonie; in fact, the gauntlet of hopefuls pleading for tickets one
had to run began a full block away from the entrance.~) One Berlin critic
evidently kept an eye on his watch during the evening; by his reckoning the
entire concert lasted only 90 minutes, with much of the St.-Saėns segment
devoted to the harangue between Delilah and the High Priest (Sergei
Leiferkus, first-rate), leading into that critic's grumpy question "Ten
minutes of Plįcido Domingo for 125 Euros?" (roughly $100).
Both Borodina and Domingo did indeed treat us to some memorably
fine vocalism - with Domingo sounding every bit as wonderful as he ever
has, something of a miracle at the age of 60, but for not me alone the
-->evening's vocal highpoint, in fact a revelation, came when a young
Croatian tenor with the improbable name of Kresimir Spicer (:KrEshimir
ShpItzer, u fonetskom originalu S sa `kvacicom'!) provided the first part's
high point as the narrator in the Monteverdi; during the intermission, an
enthusiastic little crowd of Berlin's musical sophisticates surrounded him
in the Philharmoniker's backstage buffet crying for information about this
vocal discovery. More about Spicer in a moment.
First, the shortest of shrift for the Ligeti abomination. The
so[u!]briquet "instrumental theater" (think first and foremost the rather
cumbersome high jinks perpetrated by Mauricio Kagel) applied to
instrumental works that required the performers to horse around in one
extra-musical way or another, to no apparent purpose. In 1962 it pleased
Ligeti to perpetrate a work for two sopranos and one baritone in an
invented nonsense language he called "asemantic." Their particular horsing
around toward one another supposedly conveys such emotions as anxiety,
boasting, foolishness, and so on.
Uncertain audience titters rewarded, for instance, the
percussionist's using a carpet-beater the size of a tennis racket to wallop
a sort of miniature mattress beneath it, or pop an inflated paper bag, or
when the three long-suffering but impressively capable singers (Sarah
Leonard, Linda Hirst, and Omar Ebrahim) pinched their nostrils closed to
produce an unattractive nasality, or when they picked up small megaphones
from the floor and bellowed through them into the auditorium. I had heard
about "Aventures" sporadically ever since its world premiere, but until
this week my luck had held out against actually encountering such rubbish.
During rehearsals for this concert, Nagano had reported things
"going really well" with "quite a chemistry between Domingo, Borodina, and
the orchestra," but conceivably those rehearsals took place in the DSO's
stageless rehearsal room and not on the stage of the Philharmonie. At the
concert, things went logistically wrong from the start of the St.-Saėns,
for instead of a strictly concert performance, the performers decided to
incorporate a modicum of physical histrionics - and when you turn two such
impressively endowed and experienced singing hams loose with no control
whatever to rein them in, musical disaster automatically threatens.
At the worst moments Monday evening, it didn't only threaten.
Leiferkus's segments provided him scant opportunity to spread himself, but
Borodina almost immediately turned into the very model of an old-fashioned
primissima donna of the most self-indulgent sort. Unabashedly, arrogantly,
almost contemptuously, she ever more and more ostentatiously turned her
back completely towards Nagano - and any opera's conductor must always
remain in control musically.
Poor Nagano could only pivot back and forth on the podium,
sometimes looking almost pleadingly at the singers behind him, hopefully
trying to catch an eye at least occasionally, usually with no success
whatever. As a result, Borodina and Domingo mostly did what singers
unfortunately will, given half a chance; they indulged themselves in the
most narcissistic, self-serving manner of performance imaginable. We did
indeed hear great, surging billows of glorious vocalism - but music? In
spite of Nagano's valiant exertions, music to a large extent simply went
down the drain.
But let's get back to the -->truly musical highlight of the
evening. Note the name - write it down, memorize it - of Kresimir Spicer,
for me the most exciting vocal discovery since Thomas Quasthoff exploded
into my ken five or six years ago. Artists' program biographies tend to
vaunt, but Spicer's perceptibly does its best to inflate such things as he
has done to date. Little wonder, since he gives his age at merely 25!
Born in Slavonski Brod, he studied in Zagreb and Amsterdam,
where he settled - and even while still a student he appeared in
professional productions there of "Don Carlo" and "Gianni Schicchi." Last
June he first attracted major international attention at the
Aix-en-Provence Festival when William Christie cast him as Ulysses in
Monteverdi's opera with Christie's splendid ensemble Les Arts Florissants,
with Marijana Mijanovic singing opposite him.
Gaėtan Naulleau wrote in "Le Monde" on June 13: "The eve of the
premiere, nobody knew Marijana Mijanovic (Penelope) and her companion
Kresimir Spicer (Ulysses). The next day, their names drew moved smiles upon
all the lips of the people in Aix plus enthusiastic babbling." -->Residents
of greater New York may anticipate a similar experience when the
-->Brooklyn Academy of Music imports that production intact for the -->week
beginning April 7.
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