Opera Scotland

International Celebrity Concert 1934Lionel Powell

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Celebrity Concert


                                                Conchita Supervia         mezzo-soprano

                                                Gregor Piatigorsky         cello

                                                Ivor Newton                  accompanist

                                                Amalio Cuenca              guitar


Dundee Courier & Advertiser: Wednesday, 28 November  1934 (p5)

Famous Prima Donna's Dundee visit - Celebrity Concert on Friday

'Madame Conchita Supervia, the famous Spanish prima donna, will make a welcome reappearance in Dundee on Friday evening, when she sings at the Caird Hall in the “Celebrity” series of concerts.  Supervia is remembered among music lovers in Dundee for her remarkable voice, exquisite musicianship, and dazzling personality.  This attractive concert will be shared by Piatigorsky, the famous Russian 'cellist, who will also be making a welcome return to the city.

'Madame Supervia will sing two arias from the sparkling music of Rossini.  The arias are from L'Italiana in Algeri and La Cenerentola.  Her programme will include Spanish songs in costume and accompaniments on the guitar by Amalio Cuenca.  Piatigorsky promises a fine selection of 'cello music.  He will play Bach's Concerto in G minor, a Sonata by Francoeur, Schumann's “Fantasie Stücke” and “Largo and Rondo” (Weber).  Ivor Newton will be accompanist.


Dundee Courier & Advertiser: Saturday, 1 December 1934 (p8)

Spanish Songs in Costume - Conchita Supervia Charms Dundee Audience

Piatigorsky's Mastery of the 'Cello

'Madame Conchita Supervia the famous Spanish prima donna scored another triumph last night on her return visit to Dundee.

'Her remarkable vocal powers and none the less remarkable personality captivated the audience at the second ''Celebrity'' concert of the season in the Caird Hall.

'The second half of the programme, which was considerably the longer, had a largely Spanish character, Madame Supervia singing many songs of her native country in costume.

'Jointly with Madame Supervia there appeared Gregor Piatigorsky, the Russian 'cellist, also making a return visit.  As Madame Supervia captivated with her voice and personality, Piatigorsky captivated with his golden string tone.

'In an age when prima donnas fall into more or less stereotyped categories of voice and style Madame Supervia must surely be unique.  Her voice combines to a large extent the characteristics of soprano, mezzo-soprano, and contralto.  She can sing a perfect scale through that whole register of the female voice, and always the tone is exquisite.  This equipment she has cultivated so highly that her musicianship is positively dazzling.  Mezzo-sopranos who can sing coloratura with the ease and fluency of this singer must be indeed rare.

'She is superb in the florid music of Rossini, which was written for singers, who, a hundred years ago, must have had remarkable ranges. There is an abandon of gaiety in her singing, yet it is all beautifully controlled.

'A rearrangement of the programme, owing to its original length, deprived us of one of the two Rossini arias promised.  The audience, however, found ample compensation later in the wealth of piquant Spanish songs.

'The Rossini aria which was given was ''Nacqui All' Affano e al pianto,'' from La Cenerentola (Cinderella).  The singer gave a glittering performance, the technique displayed being something to marvel at.  The execution of descending scales with such incredible speed and clarity produced an electrical effect.

'For the first group of Spanish songs she appeared in a costume designed under the direction of the Spanish painter Nestor - a creation colourful and gay, which matched the personality of the singer.  The songs were varied examples of the art of such Spanish composers as Granados,  De Falla,  and Nin.  De Falla's ''Jota'' was a magnificent piece of singing, with the work of Mr Ivor Newton as accompanist no less outstanding.  Nin's setting of a gipsy's lament for her dead child was sung with amazing verisimilitude, if it scarcely suited the gay costume.

'Madame Supervia then presented a number of excerpts from Andalusian and Gitan folklore, attired in Andalusian costume and accompanied on the guitar by Amalio Cuenca. Voice and gesture conveyed that this music means a great deal to her.  The audience was enthusiastic, and in response Madame Supervia sang more Spanish songs.

'Gregor Piatigorsky, still a young man, has achieved eminence even among the virtuosi of the 'cello. He has a fascinatingly brilliant technique, and his tone is the glden one of which one dreams.  One moment he can produce a pure violin tone;  next he is bringing a tone of passionate sombreness from the 'cello's deeper register.

'His mastery of the instrument is superb.  Wilfully chosen difficulties - much of the music played was of his own adaptation - were overridden with consummate artistry.

'M Piatigorsky  introduced himself with a deeply-satisfying performance of a transcription by himself of a Bach Concerto in G major.  The characteristics of the rhythm and the design had been carefully preserved, and the player rendered them with great verve.  The middle slow movement was played with an exquisite expressiveness, and the finale displayed his technique with great effect.

'At his second appearance he gave a charming performance of a sonata by Francoeur, the lovely gavotte being a particular feature of admiration.  Then came a largo and rondo by Weber.  The contrast between the movements was most effectively presented.  Later he played a group in which a Russian dance and the ''Danse de Feu'' of De Falla were notable.

'Mr Ivor Newton accompanied throughout with unfailing skill.'

Performance Cast


Conchita Supervia

Production Cast


Ivor Newton

Performance DatesInternational Celebrity Concert 1934

Map List

Caird Hall | Dundee

30 Nov, 20.00

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