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Thread: Vocal Recital: Barbara Hannigan at the Kennedy Center, Washington, DC

          
   
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    Opera Lively Staff Member Top Contributor Member Hoffmann's Avatar
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    Vocal Recital: Barbara Hannigan at the Kennedy Center, Washington, DC

    Recitalist: Barbara Hannigan
    Accompanist: Reinbert de Leeuw

    I haven't reviewed a vocal recital before, so please bear with me as I attempt to convey the experience of last night's recital.

    I had joined Luiz a couple of years ago to see a concert performance of Written on Skin in Toronto, with the original cast, or most of it, from the opera's premiere, including Barbara Hannigan reprising her starring role. Despite my hesitance to fully embrace the modern operatic idiom, I enjoyed the opera and appreciated Barbara Hannigan's talent, focus and overall performance that evening.

    So, when I noticed that she would be performing in recital in the newly renovated Terrace Theater at the Kennedy Center, a real jewel of the several different theaters within the Kennedy Center (unfortunately, I am having trouble downloading the photo from my phone and Google Images isn't up to date) I jumped to buy a ticket - even though I realized that the recital likely would reflect Ms. Hannigan's reputation as an exponent of modern music.

    Sure enough:

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    Barbara Hannigan's singing last night, true to form, gleamed thru some very difficult pieces, supremely focused throughout her program. I've been in the audience for numerous recitals over the years, but most recitalists are intrepid enought to program only one difficult sequence - not a complete program.

    I was riveted throughout and fascinated to hear songs composed by the most legendary modern composers and to gain understanding of their beauty and emotional intensity. All the songs were sung in German, so I was able to understand at least partially, what they were about.

    Equal to Ms. Hannigan's performance was the stunning accompaniment by Reinbert de Leeuw, whose timing and dexterity throughout the difficult program was amazing. What really stood out was the counterpoint between the seemingly lyrical and passionate music for piano and the intense nature of the lyrics of the songs.

    The audience, as you might imagine, comprised people highly appreciative both of Hannigan's singing and the program. I ran into a former EPA colleague who, it turns out, is passionate about modern music and we had a wonderful chat about the performance and operatic music experiences, which is a side of him I hadn't realized before.

    There was no encore, but a really lovely evening.

    Sorry, I see that the program is unreadable:

    Arnold Schoenberg Vier Lieder, Op. 2

    Anton Webern Fünf Lieder nach Gedichte von Richard Dehmel

    Alban Berg Sieben Fruhe Lieder

    Intermission

    Alexander Zemlinsky Lieder, Op. 2

    Alexander Zemlinsky Gesänge, Op. 5

    Alexander Zemlinsky Irmelin Rose und Andere Gesänge, Op. 7

    Alma Mahler "Die Stille Stadt" (Dehmel)
    "Laue Sommernacht" (Falke)
    "Ich wandle unter Blumen" (Heine)
    "Licht in der Nacht" (Bierbaum)

    Hugo Wolff "Mignon Lieder" from Goethe Lieder
    Last edited by Hoffmann; November 15th, 2017 at 03:00 PM.

  2. #2
    Opera Lively Site Owner / Administrator / Chief Editor Top Contributor Member Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)'s Avatar
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    Yay! There is hope for you! Next, you'll be enjoying tomorrow's performance of The Exterminating Angel (a full-blown masterpiece; even if the term is tossed around sometimes without much anchor in reality, this one really qualifies - if not for my lasting infatuation with Written on Skin, Angel could be called the best contemporary opera in my opinion; in the context of with Written on Skin's competition, I'd say it's at least a close second if not a tie) on Met Live in HD. Get a ticket and don't miss it!

    Oh wow, I keep missing the good things offered in Washington DC. I've been pretty busy and it's been difficult for me to travel beyond/in addition to what it's programmed already, but for Barbara Hannigan I could have opened an exception! As you know, ever since that day in Toronto when I briefly met her at the cocktail party (after our very interesting phone interview when she was in Santa Fe), I met her much more extensively in Aix-en-Provence in person on the occasion of her Mélisande, and my already huge admiration for her only grew stronger! What an artist! Remember how mesmerized we were with Elina Garanca? Well, Barbara has the ability to cause that effect, too!
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Opera Lively Staff Member Top Contributor Member Hoffmann's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva) View Post
    Yay! There is hope for you! Next, you'll be enjoying tomorrow's performance of The Exterminating Angel (a full-blown masterpiece; even if the term is tossed around sometimes without much anchor in reality, this one really qualifies - if not for my lasting infatuation with Written on Skin, Angel could be called the best contemporary opera in my opinion; in the context of with Written on Skin's competition, I'd say it's at least a close second if not a tie) on Met Live in HD. Get a ticket and don't miss it!

    Oh wow, I keep missing the good things offered in Washington DC. I've been pretty busy and it's been difficult for me to travel beyond/in addition to what it's programmed already, but for Barbara Hannigan I could have opened an exception! As you know, ever since that day in Toronto when I briefly met her at the cocktail party (after our very interesting phone interview when she was in Santa Fe), I met her much more extensively in Aix-en-Provence in person on the occasion of her Mélisande, and my already huge admiration for her only grew stronger! What an artist! Remember how mesmerized we were with Elina Garanca? Well, Barbara has the ability to cause that effect, too!
    Unfortunately, I will miss tomorrow's Exterminating Angel, but we do have tickets for the new Sciarrino next summer at the Staatsoper unter den Linden with Otto Katzameier, which should be fun (see "What I'm Going to See Next").

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