Music and Reviews from Clare, Limerick, Waterford and sometimes further afield

Monday, March 30, 2015

Voices to Thrill: RTE NSO with Soprano Trio

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Can you imagine if you ordered a 'trio of rare seafood' dish in a quay-side  restaurant but before it came you were served a large course of pork and dumplings? You might justifiably think this was an odd balance in menu planning. Less meat and potatoes and more of the subtle fish you were expecting, you might very well demand. Now, imagine. that without a by your leave, your maitre d' plonked an observer with a camera at your table to film your grub for a promotional video to market his restaurant, I suggest that you might be less than happy.

Which brings me to an evening titled  Voices to Thrill  at the NCH on Friday. There was an embarrassment of vocal riches as the RTE NSO engaged not just one but three leading international sopranos. Tara Erraught darling of the Bavarian State Opera was joined by Ailish Tynan, doyenne of London scene and Dublin's  favourite soprano, Celine Byrne. All three  girls looked radiant and you couldn't imagine them looking or sounding any better. Tynan sang Mozart's Exultate Jubilate as though her hear would burst with the sheer joy of it all. In the trio from  final scene of Der Rosenkavalier by Strauss, the formidable vocal team knocked us out with sheer beauty of tone and seemingly effortless expression in  this highlight of  late Romantic opera. The orchestra under Buribayev  after a slightly overblown opening found a comfortable dynamic that supported the singers without overpowering them. A fabulous evening at a sold out house and one to remember for years to come. 

There was a sour note  though among the opera gala crowd in my area in the stalls as we headed for our interval saunter without a titter of vocal action in a programme title that suggested  otherwise. Why engage three of the most sought after sopranos and leave them twiddling their thumbs in the dressing room until  the second half of the evening. Which bring me back to the pork and dumplings While the gals cooled their heels, the RTE NSO  dished up a large dollop of Teutonic symphonic fare in  Brahms 4th Symphony.  Good solid stuff but just not what I was  in the mood for.  There were lots of singers and opera buffs in the house and judging by the interval chatter,  my view was not an isolated one. Moreover , throughout the playing of the symphony, a video camera man and photographer were placed slap bang in the centre of choir gallery to record the  proceedings without a by your leave. This might be alright if the performance were a cut price matinee but not for a full price gala occasion. The following evening,  a performer asked for the audience's indulgence to film a 5 minute sequence during his live show. At the end of the evening, Vladimir Jablokov thanked his audience at the Theatre Royal Waterford and repeated the number for the audience to enjoy it without the distraction of cameras, a small but significant courtesy.

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