Sondra Radvanovsky gives a flawless recital
By Adrian Rodriguez
Reviewing a concert given by an artist with a voice like the stentorian soprano Sondra Radvanosky has, is a very difficult task for a music critic. After all, how can one criticize something that is flawless! Such was my experience after attending the recital she gave on Sunday, October 24 at ‘Le Grand Theatre de Quebec’ accompanied by pianist Anthony Manoli.
While Radvanosky continuously performed all the nuances written in the score: fortes, pianissimos, crescendos, decrescendos, I had to keep reminding myself -“Hey wake up! You are here to work, you must be impartial, you must be objective”… But it didn’t work. She managed to dissipate time and carried the audience to another plain of existence. One where judgment vanishes.
Our Canadian diva presented a two-hour recital without showing any signs of vocal fatigue. She gave the same program earlier this year in September for the Philadelphia Opera Festival. The soprano interpreted songs from Bellini, Verdi, Strauss, Liszt, Barber and arias from the operas Tosca, Andrea Chenier, Dvořákand a song from the musical ‘My Fair Lady’.
The recital was very well conceived, gradually gaining momentum with every piece. The first block of songs constituted by Bellini’s and Vivaldi’s ‘Sposa son disprezzata’ allowed her to showcase her lower register and her rich middle voice. She continued with four songs from Strauss. I was pleasantly surprised, as was the general public, by her interpretation of all of the German songs. She has established herself mainly as an Italian Belcanto Diva and in fact, this was just the second time that she explores these German lieders. Her interpretation of ‘Morgen’ was powerful and moving. Her high notes where crystal clear, like a ray of sun that penetrates the thick clouds of a rainy morning.
The last piece in the program was ‘La mamma morta’ from the Opéra Andrea Chenier. Radvonosky will be premiering this soprano lead role with ‘Liceu Opera Barcelona’ in 2018.
Sondra Radvonosky is a very generous artist and sang three major pieces as an encore: Vissi d’arte from Tosca, Song to the Moon from Rusalka and ‘I Could Have Dance all Night’ from the musical ‘My Fair Lady’.
Not only did she sing impeccably, but this prima donna also broke the typical recital conventions, which can be sometimes be perceived as stiff and cold scaring new audiences. She spoke to the public in between pieces, creating a rapport, sharing her musical intellect and allowing the audience to feel at home by sharing personal anecdotes, instead of going from one song to another without any comment. A particular emotiional moment arose during her second encore iwhen she sang ‘Song to the Moon’. She confided to the audience, whilealmost breaking into tears that her father was Czech and never had the opportunity to hear her sing. His favorite composer was Dvořák . She dedicatedthe aria to his memory.
Say what you will, call it tacky if you must, but listening to Sondra Radvanosky on Sunday night was a spiritual experience. At the end of the concert a divine silence reigned as everybody in the audience was speechless, incapable of finding the words to describe the beauty they had just witnessed.
This event was organized by the Club Musical de Québec, you can follow their activities at: http://www.clubmusicaldequebec.com/