Opera Scotland

Recital 1989Edinburgh International Festival

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The Edinburgh Festival of 1989 had a theme that had not been tried before - the music and drama of Spain. The Teatro Clasico of Madrid could be seen in two 'golden age' dramas, La Celestina by Rojas and The Mayor of Zalamea by Calderón. Two further Calderón plays were imported from London and Warsaw.

On the musical side, a Spanish operetta, or 'zarzuela', La Chulapona, was seen in Scotland for the first time, while the great Spanish conductor Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos led a concert performance of two Falla works, La vida breve and L'Atlántida. At the centre of all these novelties came the majestic figure of Caballé.

She was almost retired from opera, but the voice was still remarkable, with the wonderful breath control and floated high notes unimpaired. She soon had the audience at her feet, even though the whole structure of the programme did seem quite old-fashioned. A group of baroque pieces (basically vocal exercises from 'forgotten' Vivaldi operas - our knowledge of these wonderful treasures has been transformed since 1989!). 'Agitata da due venti' has since deservedly become a party-piece for the new breed of baroque specialists.

These were followed by a bel canto exhibition in the first half. Bellini had a genius for charming melody even in his first opera. This sequence ended with a far more familiar piece that spread Rossini's name throughout Europe. The real rarity was the aria called 'Dove sono' - nothing to do with Countess Almaviva, but a lovely solo from one of the best works by Mercadante, surely long overdue for revival in Britan.

After the interval we had some wonderful Spanish pieces, by Granados, as well as Catalan favourites by Mompou, Obradors and Turina. Her last encore saw a return to Italy for Adriana Lecouvreur's testament. A real feast.

Her entire programme is listed below:

            Vivaldi: Un certo non so che Il Tragade.

                         Se cerca, se dice L’ Olimpiade.

                         Sposa son disprezza Il Bajazet.

                         Agitata da due venti La Griselda.

             Bellini: Dopo l’oscuro nembo Adelson e Salvini.

             Mercadante: Dove sono Le due illustri rivali.

             Rossini: Di tanti palpiti Tancredi.

            Granados: Elegia eterna.

                             L’ocell profeta.

                             La maja y el ruiseñor.

             Mompou: Damunt de tu nomes les flors.

                            Jo et pressentia com la mar.

             Obradors: En el pinar.

                             Coplas de Curro Dulce.

              Turina: Canción de cuna.

                          Tu pupila es azul.

              Encores included two zarzuela songs and one more by Obradors, also

              Cilea: Io son l’umile ancella Adriana Lecouvreur.

Performance Cast

Soprano

Montserrat Caballé

Production Cast

Pianist

Miguel Zanetti

Performance DatesRecital 1989

Map List

Usher Hall | Edinburgh

16 Aug, 20.00

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