Saturday, December 5, 2009

Annick Massis au Théâtre des Champs-Élysées (TCE)

photo from the TCE web-site

That night in TCE was supposed to be special as there was a long awaited recital of one of the leading french sopranos, Annick Massis. She is parisienne who, in spite of her fan-base, shows up very seldom on any of numerous stages in Paris. Second reason for the night to be special was that it was a rare occasion to listen to the belcanto-repertoire in Paris, which is kinda weird since Paris counts quite many belcanto-freaks. On the less appealing side, the announced program was short and uninspiring, which probably explains about 1/5 of the seats being vacant (especially in the 2nd balcony). 

Here is the program :

Massenet: "Allons, il le faut... Adieu... " (Manon)
Bizet: "Me voilà seule dans la nuit... " (Les Pêcheurs de perles)
Gounod: "Dieu quel frisson...amour ranime..." (Roméo et Juliette)
Bellini: "Ah se una volta... ah non credea mirarti..." (La Sonnambula)
Rossini : "Bel raggio lusinghier..." (Semiramide)

ENCORE-Donizetti : "Spargi d'amaro pianto" (Lucia di Lammermoor)

5 arias sung by EVERYBODY, a choice for which you need to be overconfident and ready to be compared to the all-time-bests. At the end of the day one can summarize it all as  Annick chose that road to follow, but her voice didn't -- we travelled with her,  and suffered quite a bit.

The first aria, in which Massis was barely audible, was a warm-up for the second one which is probably her best operatic role so far (Leila from The Pearl Fishers). Although not in voice, she sang that aria beautifully. Sadly that's where the good part of the evening ended. As for the rest:

  • "Amour ranime mon courage" is far too big for her, she lacks volume in the upper range and in the lower her voice disappears like a soap-bubble.
  • "Ah non credea mirarti" starts with a full octave false-note, and then she did everything to pick up the stride but never quite managed to get on the top of it.
  • "Bel raggio lusinghier" was a big suffering for her and for us too: she was short of breath most of the time, her voice cracked a couple of times; then she tried to hide the mess by spraying in some coloratura tricks which eventually only added to make the whole thing sound clumsey and amateurish.
  • "Spargi d'amaro pianto" was supposed to rescue the evening but, instead, her voice escaped her control twice again and that was one and the only encore of the overall sad evening.
Better luck next time Annick!

N.B. : This is an exception in Paris: the concerts/recitals are usually excellent. Annick is also an excellent singer having had a bad night --well, it happens to everyone!-- accompanied by an astonishingly mediocre orchestra (Ensemble orchestral de Paris) and its conductor (Ottavio Marino).

No comments:

Post a Comment