been for the most part sensibly done, although some cuts do throw the musical structure off balance; the final scene, for one, becomes a hurried scramble for the final curtain. On the other hand, at least one number that Meyerbeer took a great deal of trouble over can be heard here for the first time: Berthe’s remarkable death scene with its novel use of the recently invented saxophone. Fidès’s cavatine becomes in its uncut original version an even more breathtaking tour de force for the star mezzo (the part was made to measure for the legendary Pauline Viardot-García).
Marianne Cornetti gives an involving account of this role, characterizing convincingly both the distressed old woman and the majestically avenging, ultimately forgiving mother. She discreetly suggests the sighs implied in the music of her Act 4 couplets and deals fearlessly with a murderous compass reaching from low G flat to high B (even touching C in alt in the roulades of the Act 5 aria). A few signs of tiredness
I.S.O. Deutschlandsberg-Austria 25th International Singing Competition
Ferruccio Tagliavini Opera singers (1st section -35 years) and voice students (2nd section-24years)
Deutschlandsberg, 26 March-02April 2019
Jury: Fiorenza Cossotto
Chairwoman Richard Bonynge Andrea de Amici Cristina Ferrari Anatoli Goussev Ernesto Palacio
Nora Schmid Vittorio Terranova
Alberto Triola Information: I.S.O Deutschlandsberg Holleneggerstraße 10, A-8530 Deutschlandsberg,
Tel.:+43-(0)664-73142202, Mail: email@example.com www.iso.or.at
towards the end of the evening don’t detract in the least from a towering performance. Two extended duets with the Berthe of Lynette Tapia highlight the great timbral contrast of their voices, Cornetti’s motherly and enveloping, Tapia’s displaying that slightly shrill sound typical of some French sopranos of the vieille garde. Their phrasing in the many cadenzas is beautifully unanimous. On her own, Tapia shines in the coloratura of Berthe’s opening cavatine, with some nicely floated high notes, successfully crowning her portrayal with the aforementioned death scene, its broken, gasping phrases most expressively sung.
The role of Jean is, in the composer’s own words, ‘the largest and the most important that has ever been written for a tenor’. In spite of the many simplifications and abbreviations that took place during rehearsals, it remains quite a brute of a role to sing, but John Osborn has the full measure of it, from the wide-eyed wonder of the Récit du songe and the Pastorale (a beautiful head voice at the section marked très doux) to the rodomontades of Jean’s later, public persona in the Prière (here including some hitherto unknown music), the Hymne triumphal (conversely, quite clumsily cut) and the hypnotic Exorcisme from the Act 4 finale. Having along the way chosen some high options that take him to a D in alt, Osborn still sounds amazingly fresh at the concluding, forcefully sung Couplets bacchiques.
The unholy trinity of Anabaptist preachers that recruit Jean to their ranks sounds appropriately sinister. Tijl Faveyts makes much of Zacharie’s Act 3 couplets, and Albrecht Kludszuweit holds his own in the ungrateful second tenor role of Jonas, who sings only as part of the ensemble but needs to cap the Act 3 Trio bouffe with a ringing high C sharp. Pierre Doyen as Mathisen and Karel Martin Ludvik as Oberthal complete worthily the cast of principals.
Giuliano Carella marshals the AaltoMusiktheater’s forces with great
Opera, December 2018