oracne - Victoria Janssen (oracne) wrote,
oracne - Victoria Janssen
oracne

Schumann, "Das Paradies und die Peri"

Thanks to the good offices of sf writer and music reviewer Tom Purdom, I had a free ticket to see Schumann's "Das Paradies und die Peri" at the Kimmel Center last night.

Simon Rattle conducted the Philadelphia Orchestra; I'd never seen him live before, and agreed with Tom that he seemed to really relish the loud, fast parts, but other than that, watching his conducting style made me cranky and annoyed. For one thing, he did this twitchy, "come on and fight me!" gesture with the fingers of his left hand, which I presume meant "give me more intensity!" but to me was more distracting, given that his baton beat came and went, occasionally changing to a simple stab like he held a fencing foil. Also, he did really exaggerated preparatory gestures before major changes in the tempo or dynamic, which were probably a bit more than a professional orchestra really requires, but sure looked impressive. Possibly even more impressive if he was on tv. I was turned off by this, as you might guess from my comments. Also, several times he reached into the sightline of the main soprano soloist, coming between her and the audience, which I have never seen any conductor do before, ever. He had room to gesture to the first violins behind her. He did not do this to the main tenor soloist on his other side. I'm not sure why people like Rattle so much. Maybe the Orchestra likes him, for all I know. My group hardly ever sings with them any more, so I won't have any opportunity to ask.

I really, really enjoyed both listening to and watching Mark Padmore, the tenor soloist whose role in this piece was similar to that of the Evangelist in Bach's St. Matthew Passion (and apparently, that's one of his upcoming parts). He was one of those performers who has that elusive something that makes you want to look at him, very valuable when you're essentially the "describe what we're supposed to be seeing" part of the piece. I finally decided part of it was that he always looked interested, even when he wasn't singing. He was involved in the piece. Unostentatiously, if you're wondering.

I was also glad to see/hear the Philadelphia Singers Chorale, and wave (mentally) to the various pro singers from our group who also sing with them.
Tags: music
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