Friday 20 June 2014

A terrific day with Bellini

Robert Hugill in full flow, introducing Nelly Miricioiu's performances of Bellini
Robert in full flow introducing
Nelly Miricioiu's performance

Yesterday (19 June) was the Divas and Scholar's study day on Bellini at Cadogan Hall, given by Sarah Lenton, Robert Hugill, Nelly Miricioiu, James Edwards and Philip Mountford in a mixture of lectures and live performance bringing Bellini's music to life with a bang.

We had Sarah Lenton talking about Bel Canto in the morning, providing some fascinating insights into the way that the music and the dramas happened on stage, but almost as important was the contemporary audience. It certainly put the style of performance of the operas into perspective. Then I followed with an introduction to Bellini's live and times, touching on his operas and his complicated love-live (its always fun to get sex and opera into the same lecture!).

James Edwards and Nelly Miricioiu
James Edwards and Nelly Miricioiu
After lunch, which gave us time to chat and follow up on thoughts from the morning, it was over to soprano Nelly Miricioiu. She performed items from Bellini's La Sonnambula (the cavatina and part of the cabaletta frIl Pirata (again from the final scene) and Norma.

Nelly Miriciou and Lucy Woodruff from Divas and Scholars
Nelly Miriciou
with Lucy Woodruff
from Divas and Scholars
I introduced the items, touching in on what we were going to hear as well as adding descriptions of the voices of the original performers. Nelly was joined by tenor James Edwards for extended excerpts from Norma in which Nelly imaginatively talked us through what was going on. She provided some great insights into how a singer puts together such roles, and how she thinks about them. And, of course, provided some thrilling and intensely moving singing. She was ably supported by James Weeks in the role of Pollione, and I do hope we get to hear him in the full role soon! Philip Mountford was the stylish pianist.
om the final scene),

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