Friday, June 13, 2014

Mariana Nicolesco Conquers Vocal Demands Of Rare Meyerbeer Piece

"In his own time, Giacomo Meyerbeer was considered one of the all time great composers of music, along with Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven. His music was incredibly popular, and other composers admired and emulated him. Today he is mostly known for the grand operas that he composed for the French stage from 1826 until his death in 1864. Among his lesser-known works are his melodies for voice and piano, his Lieder and other songs, and the monodrama Gli Amori di Teolinda. Written in 1816 when he had first journeyed to Italy, it shows how enamored Meyerbeer was with everything Italian, and in particular with Italian music. It was composed in Verona when Meyerbeer was in the company of two of his childhood friends from Germany; the clarinetist Heinrich Baermann and the soprano Helene Harlas, both virtuosos. The scoring is for soprano, clarinet, chorus and orchestra, and features virtuosic clarinet writing as well as Italianate coloratura for soprano voice. In the directions to the score there are indications that choral
portions of the piece may be danced, after the manner of the divertissements in the French opera of Lully and Rameau. The music shows the decided influence of the Italian composer Gioachino Rossini. The instrumental introduction is classical, stately, and sophisticated. It sets a gently serious, but not tragic mood. After the slow first section it breaks into a quick, Rossini-esque allegro, which in turn settles back down into an operatic introduction that sets up the first solo for Teolinda. Sublime vocal writing characterizes this work. Melting roulades and elegant melodic lines are contrasted effectively with impassioned vocal display. Meyerbeer has completely mastered the language of nineteenth-century opera in this short, modest drama, and shown the soprano voice to great advantage. Moreover, the magnificence of the clarinet writing equals that of the voice. The story concerns the frustrations of Teolinda, who believes herself to be madly in love with the shepherd Armidoro. She yearns for him and dreams of him, but he gives her no response. The only indications of his presence are in the solos of the clarinet. After Teolinda's initial scene, the clarinet enters, with an elaborate and almost conversational solo. Teolinda and her imaginary love have the rest of the drama almost to themselves. Their interaction is made up of tender duos, idle romance, and passionate display. But it is all only an erotic dream and she only fancies Armidoro's presence and attentions. The chorus of shepherds disturbs her reveries with their interjections, but she escapes into the virtuosity of the clarinet writing, duoing with it in an almost mad frenzy of fioritura." [Source]

No comments:

Post a Comment