May 3, 2016

West Side Story

I think we can open a new thread for West Side Story now, the reporting has started.

I found an interview with Cecilia and an article about WWS in a German magazine called 'Oper!'. It's not online, but I took some pictures for the German-speaking ones of us.

The interview:

The article:

 And a nice congratulation:
Cecilia is on the title of the magazine and there are several small notes concerning her. Worth buying it.
For the non German-speaking, I will translate the important parts later.

39 comments:

  1. Thank you! Looking forward to your translation :)

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  2. Here some of the important parts of the interview:

    Q: How come that you founded 'Les Musiciens du Prince'?
    A: I have been working with many different orchestras in my life. Working on 'St. Petersburg' I became aware of musicians, who used to play especially for the Tzar or Tzarina, so it came to my mind, why not forming an orchestra for Monte Carlo? I know, it's quite a barock idea (laughing), but now we created an orchestra for the court of Monte Carlo just as it was usual in former times. We unite great musicians, who will perform barock music on historical instruments. They're from Italy, Switzerland, Germany and France, so it is an international orchestra supported by the Prince. When I presented my idea to the court, they were enthusiastic and so we'll start in July in Monte Carlo and go on a Tour in autumn with works from Händel, Vivaldi and Repertoire from the 18th century.

    Q: Tell us about your part as the artistic director.
    A: I work closely together with the concertmaster, choosing the repertoire and inviting the musicians. Depending on whether we’re working on an opera or on chambermusic, we have to invite a conductor. This is a new experience for me, that I have to choose the musicians depending on the project. I’m looking very much forward to it and so I will be surrounded by great musicians with a lot of experience. I will work with them on the interpretation, sing with them and in the end I will do what I always did. It is, what music means to me: The dialog between different instruments, the permanent exchange of them.

    Q: How do you manage to be a worldwide sought-after opera singer, to conceive great programs, to lead the Whitsun Festival in Salzburg and now after all your own orchestra?
    A: There’s only a simple answer to it: With passion. When you really do things with passion, you’ll always find time for it. I have a great passion for selecting repertoire, I deepen this in many rehearsals and performances, moreover I love to invite musicians as the director of the Whitsun Festival and to make music with them. I love both roles, the one of the singer and the one of the director. And I think by myself: Exactly now, after many years in the world of opera, I have a great amount of experience that I want to share. On the same time this comes at a perfect age. I have a lot of energy. If this had happened at the age of 60, it would have been more difficult. Indeed, I’m sure, in the age of 65 I will still be passionate for music. But now this is a very good time for me – with energy, health, passion and love for what I do.

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  3. And from the article, I think, this is most important:

    Salzburg is a ‘temple for music’ to Cecilia Bartoli. A place where antique Gods and Gods of singing are gathering. This is the place that Bartoli now chose to present a topic with an earthly plot, a topic with musical and dramaturgical power beyond any limits that made history: (...) West Side Story.

    (...)

    West Side Story is a premiere for Cecilia Bartoli, too, though she grew up with Bernstein’s music and was always surrounded by music of all kinds. ‘I somehow feel home in this piece, because I now the music for a very long time. I was hardly 18 when I first listenend to the recording. But I never sung it. So this is a true premiere for me.’ says Bartoli. Though West Side story is said to be a musical, Bartoli is revolting against this categorization. She thinks, Bernstein’s works belong somewhere in between opera, operetta and musical, that connects acting, singing and dancing on the same level and that combines light music (Charlotte: isn’t there a German borrowed word in Englisch, too: U-music?) with classical elements. Bernstein himself wrote in his notes on the musical West Side Story about the great idea ‘to write a musical that tells a tragical story with the means of a musical comedy, only using the techniques of a musical comedy, without ever entering the opera trap.’ (...) To Bartoli it is highly important to work on the many colours of the music. To the soprano, whose career started with Mozart Rossini and Baroque music, it was always clear that she once would perform West Side Story. The dramaturgical tight plot is just as appealing to her as the music and the stylistic devices of the different characters. ‘When I watched the musical for the first time, it was a performance with a great staging, strong dancers and actors, but musically not very good. The orchestra was too small, the casting too weak. Everything concentrated on the stage performance. That’s when I thought: ‘I want to perform this in the ‘temple of music’, which is somehow the Whitsun Festival in Salzburg. I invited Gustavo Dudamel and his Simòn Bolìvar Symphony Orchestra. They have an incredible rhythm, a spectacular tempo, this is great.’

    (...)

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    1. Thanks for sharing and translating Charlotte! I'm looking forward to see Cecilia's Maria and hope to see you in Salzburg! Catherine T

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    2. Tanks a lot, Cecilia so full of passion and I am looking forward to listening to her in this role.

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  4. I adore Cecilia, I've attended more than 50 concerts of hers but I won't see this West side story.. I don't think this is a good choice in her carreer, I want Cecilia back in Baroque and Bel Canto! I hope her next album will be focused on Baroque music, I'd also love she reprised her Cleopatra virtuosa concert, in my humble opinion that was her best ever, a legendary performance.

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    1. Totally agree with you, Anders!

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    2. Me too! And I hope for a Haendel album - the concert in Bremen 2011 was a legendary performance. I got a ticket for Bremen 2016 with "Haendel Heroines" - hope The Musiciens du Prince won't disappoint me ...

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  5. Does anybody now whether there will be any New album this year?

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    1. Don't know but I'd love Handel arias on cd with Cecilia that would be great, I'd also love a cd about Farinelli with her :)

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    2. No, I don't know anything about a new CD. Händel would be wonderful!

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  6. Replies
    1. Thanks Charlotte! Very nice interview indeed :-)
      Catherine T

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  7. ... a-ha! More Händel next year at Whitsun-Festival! I was so sure she might try out some Salieri or Vivaldi!
    http://www.drehpunktkultur.at/index.php/pfingstfestspiele/9683-schottlands-weiten

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  8. Did someone go? What was it like?

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    1. mixed feelings (and reviews)

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    2. I think it was great! With a clever concept, which worked for me anyway. Cecilia was on stage all the time and her singing was fantastic, even though microphones were used, the emotions and expression in her voice came through and made me cry a couple of times :-)

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    3. Hi, Alexander here. I saw West Side Story yesterday and I really had to sleep one night over it in order to give a statement. I also think the concept of two Marias was very clever, the ending was rather cheap though. Unfortunately I do not think that Cecilia's voice fits the music very well. Nevertheless I was moved to tears by her acting - she quietly and sadly followed the young Maria like a shadow (being on stage the whole time!) and there were these two or three momens when she started to dance. Can you believe it? Cecilia, probably the greatest baroque virtuosa of our times, dancing like a young girl in love? It was so fantastically beautiful and sad at the same time.
      I think she enjoyed all of this a lot, and I'm happy for her. (And I'm happy for us that she decided to give us more Händel next year)
      Alexander

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    4. Thanks Alexander, it must have been a good experience for you to see her in this role. What was it that you didn't like about seeing Cecilia in this role...is she to good or is it just nor her?

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  9. Ariodante à Salsbourg en 2017 !
    http://www.forumopera.com/breve/cecilia-bartoli-la-joie-dans-la-douleur-en-2017-a-salzbourg

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    1. This is GREAT! Let's cross the fingers for a recording of this opera, Ariodante is a superb Opera and the title role, originally sung by the castrato Carestini, offers lots of opportunities for Cecilia to show all her vocal fireworks and also her unrivaled pathos in slow arias.

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  10. Get a very little taste of West Side Story.

    My impression of West Side Story was wonderful. To me, the idea of two Marias added a deeply melancholic character, the story became even sadder than it is anyway: Because of aged Maria's presence, you're always aware of the unhappy end. The rhythms usually tear the audience from their seats, but here it got stuck in the move because of this awareness.

    Aged Maria not only reminds the proceedings, she experiences them once more. Cecilia's mimic (what a great actress she is!) shows joy and love and sometimes there flashes some exuberance into her face and she dances with her younger Ego. And only moments later she is full of wistfullness, resignedness and sadness and lets the things go. In the ballet scene, she tries to be the link between the opposing groups, but, of course, she cannot change the past.

    To me, the end isn’t cheap, I can’t imagine a better one. Though it made me cry, it was the only true solution. Should she go back to her bridal shop and live on unhappily? With the load of guilt on her? She does not triumph in death, she does not run happily towards Toni, they only reunite in death. This is Romeo and Julia!

    I’m sure, Bernstein would have loved it.

    I must agree that Cecilia’s voice is not perfect for musical. Her voice was so different to the others that it might have felt out of place. One can say that she, as the aged Maria, is out of place anyway and can therefore sound mature and opera-like. But singing without a microphone suits better to her (and preferably Händel. Next year Ariodante!!).

    All in all it was a splendid performance. Beautiful costumes, great choreo, very good partners and a smashing orchestra. And Cecilia did it again: She presented us other faces of music. To me a great enrichment.

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    1. will Cecilia sing Ariodante??? is this confirmed or just your wish? I'd LOVE LOVE LOOOOVE that she sang that role, Cecilia's ultra virtuosistic voice was made to sing castrato music, in my opinion only her have all what it takes to resurrect the art of the legendary castratis.

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    2. I must add to my little review that Cecilia's arias in detail were very moving. The first note let already tears well up in my eyes.

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    3. Thank you Charlotte, for your great review. I totally agree with your vision and feelings. What you write about her voice is so true: because she is the mature Maria (for me, her spirit has aged, there was not a moment that I thought they would have alter the end), it's in a way not so strange that her beautiful and superiour voice differs from the rest of the cast, the living characters. I loved the concept, I loved Cecilia's great acting, singing and dancing (very cool that she did that!) and from now on I will listen to West Side Story with other ears :-)
      Catherine T.

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    4. My two cents.
      Although I love West Side Story and think, Lenny has composed some of the most beautiful, touching and tender music for a loving couple ever written, I was a bit sceptic, when I read the announcement last year.
      One point was Cecilia's age and fitting the role of a young girl.
      The production with the twist of her being an older Maria and us seeing her constant flashback of the past was very convincing to me. Seeing Cecilia on stage almost all the time and hearing her speak some parts of the dialogue as fragments of her memory was a wonderful idea. Her using voice enhancing like the rest of the cast did not diminish her possibilities in coloring and expressing emotions with her voice.
      To me, her portrait of Maria carried an almost unbearable sadness, a human has to have after losing the one person, you maybe have loved most ever. Needless to say, she moved me to tears practically all the time.
      And due to her unsurpassed acting abilities, she even tinged less sad moments like "I feel pretty" with that sadness and that way did, what she always does with a role: she was Maria.

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    5. Maybe supertitles would have been a good idea.

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  11. This is my translation of an announcement for next year:

    The festival opens with the opera Ariodante by George Frideric Handel in the House for Mozart. The production will be carried over to the summer. Five performances are already planned "six could be good", but had not yet been agreed to, said the designated festival director Markus Hinterhäuser. Christof Loy directs, and Cecilia Bartoli sings the title role, of course. The orchestra in the pit is "Les Musiciens du Prince - Monaco" headed by Diego Fasolis.

    The "Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia" by Antonio Pappano comes with Mendelssohn, Wagner and Verdi in the Grosses Festspielhaus. Dance is prominently represented again with "Les Sylphide" and the Ballet of the Mariinsky Theatre St. Petersburg. The orchestra will be as this year in ballet, the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra.

    The concert opera for 2017 is La donna del Lago by Rossini, for Cecilia Bartoli one of the masterpieces of Rossini, "I have dreamed of for a long time." With this work the "Scotland-mania" started in Italy in 1819. This work of Rossini was followed with 25 more operas with Scotland references by different composers. Among others Cecilia Bartoli or Edgardo Rochabe will be singing. Also play here "Les Musiciens du Prince - Monaco" under Diego Fasolis. An aria matinee featuring the countertenor Max Emanuel Cenčić and Armonia Atenea under George Petrou are in the Great Hall of the Mozarteum.

    Festspiele Pfingsten" lasts from 2. to 5. June 2017.

    I'm not sure I can translate the title, but the theme is clearly Scotland.

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    1. english version salzburg festival:
      http://www.salzburgerfestspiele.at/en/blog/entryid/656

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    2. Just wanted to do the same -:).

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    3. The motto of 2017 "Wonne der Wehmut" seems to get a quite strange translation into English. While "Wehmut" is nostalgia, melancholy, it certainly is not exactly the "Joy of grief".

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    4. I think "Joy of Grief" is original from Ossian and "Wonne der Wehmut" is the Translation of the Ossian Poem by Goethe...

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  12. Mine came from a newspaper.

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  13. Cecilia sings " O sole mio" : https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=kVYvRBrHlYo

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  14. Thanks a lot....she is wonderful as always.

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  15. Euronews with a very nice 4:30 min. spot about West Side Story, listen to the very short cut 'Make of our lives one life', it breaks my heart:

    English, German, French, Spanish, Russian

    See option menu on the top of the site for further languages.

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  16. Our event could not have gone more smoothly. Huge thanks to the amazing managers from venues in Houston for their consummate professionalism and outstanding hospitality. We look forward to many more years at this lovely place.

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