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Agradezco mucho a Janet la magnífica crónica que me acaba de enviar sobre el Requiem de Verdi en el que participó Rolando Villazón, el pasado martes 23, en el Carnegie Hall de New York. Al final, podéis ver un video de 44 minutos de este Requiem. Aunque la calidad de sonido es muy irregular, todos sabemos lo complicado que es grabar en esas circunstancias y, al menos, el usuario de Youtube KidsPrimeTime nos ofrece la oportunidad de visionar este excepcional documento.
After Joanna, Marion, and Eleanore covered the action at Philadelphia’s Verizon Hall, I took over the reporter’s pad at Carnegie Hall on October 23. I was literally a bit handicapped in this assignment because a month ago, I fell down a particularly steep flight of stairs while carrying a suitcase and broke my left ankle in several places! So I came to Carnegie Hall in a black chariot of a wheelchair and had to give up a much better seat for a place at the very back of the Orchestra level, the only place my chair would fit in this completely sold-out Hall. I was lucky to get in there in my situation, but fortunately, I work for Carnegie Hall writing the program notes for most of the major vocal recitals and some orchestral concerts, so the staff there really gave me wonderful help.
Amazingly, the acoustics were quite good there even though I was at the very back of the Hall and sitting under the balcony overhang, which is usually a real dead spot. And I could hear for myself how very strongly Rolando was projecting his voice, even into this black hole. His voice rang out not only in his glorious “Ingemisco,” but throughout all the solo ensemble number in which he always sounded firm, vibrant, and very musically solid. And for me, how the soloist sounds and creates his music when he’s not doing his big show piece is the REAL test of quality. Rolando met it handsomely!
Ah, but that “Ingemisco”! Rolando sang it with tremendous passion and beauty of tone. His two high B-flats, which Verdi made extra difficult by making the tenor climb slowly up to them, were absolutely gorgeous: big, golden notes that shone and were completely free of strain.
As Joanna reported, The Philadelphia Orchestra played magnificently under Yannick Nézet-Séguin’s exciting, but well-controlled baton. And the Westminster Choir was extraordinary: these young people sang with a power and discipline that few more mature choruses in the world could match. I liked the other soloists — the wonderfully rich yet sweet-voiced Christine Rice in the mezzo solos and the velvety-voiced bass Mikail Petrenko (whose voice, however, did not project as well as Rolando’s in the ensembles). I was not too fond of the soprano Marina Poplavskaya, who sang as though she were at a different concert from her fellow soloists, oblivious to what they were doing, and was often shrill and shaky in her intonation. But that was a minor flaw — the performance as a whole was thrilling and the audience responded with at least 15 minutes of standing ovations.
My next adventure was getting backstage to Rolando’s dressing room! I had a wonderful man on the Carnegie security staff who moved heaven and earth to get me there. He even CARRIED me IN MY WHEELCHAIR up a short flight of stairs that were blocking me from the dressing room!! There Rolando broke away from a crowd of well-wishers to talk with me and give me two enormous hugs, which I think will make my ankle heal in record time!! After all, he is Doctor Rollo and one of the biggest hearts on Planet Earth. I will never forget this tremendous evening of great music-making capped by a warm encounter with a truly great human being!
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