Sondra Radvanovsky sang a selection of Italian opera arias. Press photo Teatro Colón / Arnaldo Colombaroli
Preceded by a great anticipation according to his program and his career, the American soprano Sondra Radvanovsky made his debut at the Teatro Colón. As usual (hopefully this situation will change in the not too distant future), this first contact with the local public it was in the context of a recital of the cycle of the Great International Performers and not in the opera seasonauthentic natural habitat of an opera star.
The first program announced promised to bring together scenes from Donizetti’s Tudor Queens, part of his recent record work; In the end Radvanovsky opted for a much more hybrid program which has spanned the music of three centuries.
It is normal that for their debut in a theater, and even more so in a demanding environment like the Teatro Colón, the performers choose to start with a “workhorse” or some piece that allows them to walk on solid ground.
Sondra Radvanovsky is one of the best sopranos in the world. Photo: Press Teatro Colón / Arnaldo Colombaroli
I start in reverse
For some reason difficult to explain, Sondra Radvanovsky (that is in the world one of the main interpreters of the Italian repertoire which goes from Bellini onwards) did exactly the opposite: the first four works in the program date back to the 17th and 18th centuries, and belong to different styles but none close to his “forte” or comfortable for his instrument.
The justification, expressed by herself, was the idea of show the evolution of opera singing from its beginnings to realism (term that the soprano has applied here to the Italian post-Verdi repertoire, but which in reality designates a very specific aesthetic).
Thus, the program began with three songs known above all for being part of the famous collection of old songs and arias by Alessandro Parisotti: Yellow, my beautiful by Giulio Caccini Or my sweet ardor of the work Paris and Elena by Gluck e Dance, dance, kind girlby Francesco Durante.
The air followed I will mourn my fate from Julius Caesar by Händel, which was one of Radvanovsky’s usual songs in his youth auditions. Without manipulating the style of the early Baroque or the coloratura or the line of Handel, the soprano took an unnecessary risk.
Now yes, the recital begins
after that false stephis performance takes a 180 degree turn, and with the block dedicated to Bellini the recital really begins, whose essence was the combination of chamber arias and songs by Bellini, Verdi and Puccinimany of them related to each other for the reuse that the composers themselves made of their own melodies.
Sondra Radvanovsky with pianist Anthony Manoli, who has accompanied her for 28 years. Press photo Teatro Colón / Arnaldo Colombaroli
Here too we saw one of Radvanovsky’s merits: that of interpreting every page thoroughly, and create dramatic miniature scenes with chamber songs.
The end of the first part, with caste diva and two Verdi arias (Touch the placid note Y Peace, peace, my God) gave him the first trump card e they have finished winning an audience who had already surrendered at his feet.
It was also about the first thing the diva sang without using a tablet which gave him an initial headache; logically his communication and delivery of him were much greater when he sang three fragments that he knows perfectly well (despite a brief confusion with the lyrics of caste diva).
With a broad voice, pronounced but controlled vibrato when needed, and mastery of her technical and musical resources, Radvanovsky is an intelligent and experienced singer who knows how to measure and manage its large flow. His timbre, acute in the treble but round in the center and bass, shines above all in the repertoire of Verdi and his successors.
No less intelligent and experienced is his partner, Anthony Manoli: he and the soprano know each other perfectly and form a solid duo.
Second part communicative
Sondra Radvanovsky’s recital went from minor to major. Press photo Teatro Colón / Arnaldo Colombaroli
The second part it was the total delivery of the most genuine and sincere from the soul of an immensely sensitive and communicative artist, from five pieces by Puccini and Verdi to three of the most awaited scenes by the public.
Alone, lost, abandoned, by Puccini’s Manon Lescaut was a vibrant reconstruction of the most dramatic moment of the opera and the character. The climax was with two arias that he announced with tears and who sang in an unforgettable way: I am the humble handmaid (Adriana Lecouveur of Cilea) and The dead mom from Andrea Chenier of Giordano, in which recalled his mother who died last January.
The standing ovation of a Colon completely in love with the diva was rewarded with four unscheduled works that did not disappoint.
That means: the Rusalka’s Song to the Moon (dedicated to the father, who has long since disappeared); I lived for art (Tosca), with an extraordinarily subtle finish; Oh my dear child, well interpreted despite a new confusion, attributable to emotion, and which the pianist has masterfully saved; Y over the Rainbow from The Wizard of Oz by Arlen, the only moment in a language other than Italian and a tribute to his North American roots.
Visibly moved and grateful, Sondra Radvanovsky greeted; she was floating the scent of an onset that has gone from minor to major. Hopefully, it wasn’t the farewell of an artist who deserves to make a comeback.
Cycle Great international interpreters
Qualification: Very good
interpreters: Sondra Radvanovsky (soprano), Anthony Manoli (piano) Theater: Columbus, Tuesday, July 5