I went to see the TSO last night because there was a Boulez piece programmed that I wanted to hear. It was a rather odd evening. It kicked off with Morawetz’ Carnival Overture Op.2. This was I suppose the designated Canadiana. It’s a roughly five minute piece that sounds like the Brahms of the Academic Festival Overture crossed with Dvořák. Too much brass and cymbals for my taste. Then came about ten minutes of faffing about reorganising the stage for the Boulez followed by Peter Oundjian coming out and making one of those cringingly apologetic speeches for programming something “difficult”. I hate this. If an orchestra, opera house or chamber ensemble is going to program atonal, serialist or what you will music (and they should) by all means explain how it works in a program note but don’t patronise the audience and, above all, don’t apologise. If it needs an apology why are you programming it?
Aida Garifullina is a young lyric soprano of Tatar origin who already has some interesting achievements under her belt. She played Lily Pons in the Florence Foster Jenkins movie, placed first at Operalia in 2013, has sung a string of -ina roles at the Marinsky and is currently a member of the ensemble at the Wiener Staatsoper. She’s also done concert work with the likes of Dmitri Hvostorovsky and Andrea Bocelli. Now she’s released a debut CD called Aida Garifullina recorded with the ORF Radio-Symponieorchester Wien and Cornelius Meister.
A packed out Koerner Hall just saw something half way between an art song recital and a revivalist meeting. To say that Mr. Hvorostovsky has a fan club would be a gross understatement. He was greeted by cheers, every song got prolonged applause (alas for those of us who prefer some continuity in a set), there were more flowers than at Princess Di’s funeral and about the only thing missing was that, mercifully, no underwear got thrown on stage. Oh, and, despite the requests to the contrary, the whole show was “artfully” lit by the constant flashes from phone cameras. He also sang some songs. In fact it was a nicely chosen mixture of Glinka, Rimsky-Korsakoff, Tchaikovsky and Strauss. Full details are here.
The program for Dmitri Hvorostovsky’s February 21 recital at Koerner Hall has been released. It is:
To Molly (Do not demand songs from a singer), (text: Kukolnik)
It’s Pleasant to Be with You (text: N.Ryndin)
Say Not That It Grieves the Heart (text: N. Pavlov)
Doubt (text: Kukolnik)
Bolero (text: Kukolnik)