The TSO’s program last night was too tempting to miss; Adrianne Pieczonka singing Strauss and Wagner and a Beethoven 7th plus Gianandrea Noseda conducting. So I went.
Things started off with Casella’s Italia. This is a sort of mash up of Pucciniesque bombast and Neapolitan popular tunes. I’m surprised it never featured in a Warner Bros cartoon. Perhaps it did. In any event Nosada is probably the ideal conductor for it; infusing it with a kind of manic energy. Next up were the Strauss Vier letzte lieder. Here manic energy is exactly what’s not needed and Nosada seemed to have some difficulty adjusting. Too often Adrianne Pieczonka’s beautiful singing was covered by an over loud orchestra. Roy Thomson Hall is tricky but George Benjamin showed exactly how to manage the acoustic last weekend. Nosada wasn’t so successful.
After the interval we started off with the Prelude and Liebestod from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde. This was more successful. Nosada summoned up a delicate, shimmering sound that evoked the opening words. Mild und Leise indeed. Adrianne’s singing was gorgeous and she seemed to have plenty in reserve. Is there a stage Isolde in her future?
The Beethoven 7th closed out the evening. It was good. The first movement was solidly constructed, the second had real gravitas and the the third was appropriately playful. The last, perhaps unsurprisingly, was taken at breakneck speed. It was far faster than any orchestra in Beethoven’s day could have managed and all credit to the TSO for being able to do so. It was exciting and a bit naughty and the punters loved it. But part of me was praying for the resurrection of Klemperer!
So, a bit of a mixed bag. Noseda is fun to watch and he can clearly inspire musicians to give of their best even if one finds some of his choices a bit over the top.
You can catch the same line up tonight and Saturday at 8pm.
Photo credits: Malcolm Cook.