On this July afternoon, as I ponder memorizing some Brahms, I decided it was finally time to update this little blog. Since late April, there has been a lot going on and there is even more to come. So here goes:
May 2011: Berlioz’ “Romeo et Juliette” with the Boston Symphony Orchestra
This whirlwind performance — merely 10 days after our Bach performance — with Maestro Charles Dutoit blew me away. The strength of the orchestration of the Berlioz, the endurance of the players and vocal capabilities of the soloists to carry sound over such a massive orchestra and chorus provided a sweeping dramatic interpretation of Shakespeare’s play. The catch? As a soprano in the chorus, we spent most of the performance in the green room awaiting our Act III entrance, in which we sang as Capulets and Montagues bemoaning the loss of our children and resolving to stay friends forever. Hence, I could only really gain an iota of what this performance meant from my knowledge of the play and from what we heard over the PA system. And even then, I was thankful. It’s been a long and active Symphony season and, to be honest, I was grateful to sit back and enjoy most of this concert. I adored our rehearsals with Mo. Dutoit. His insight into Berlioz’ desire for the work to be more symphony than opera enabled our ensemble to perform as one great body, rather than individual instruments or voices. Berlioz himself reasoned thus:
“If, in the famous garden and cemetery scenes, the dialogue of the two lovers, Juliet’s asides, and Romeo’s passionate outbursts are not sung, if the duets of love and despair are given to the orchestra, the reasons for this are numerous and easy to understand. First, and this reason alone would be sufficient, it is a symphony and not an opera. Second, since duets of this nature have been treated vocally a thousand times by the greatest masters, it was wise as well as unusual to attempt another means of expression.”
Photo credit of the Boston Herald copyright 2011.