Roberto Alagna sings Verdi

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1 Friday 2 May 2008 at 7.30pm Roberto Alagna sings Verdi Roberto Alagna tenor London Symphony Orchestra Ion Marin conductor London Symphony Chorus Jeremy Summerly chorus master Macbeth Patria oppressa!; O figli Ah, la paterna mano 17 La forza del destino Overture; La vita è inferno Oh tu che in seno agli angeli 6 I lombardi alla prima crociata La mia letizia infondere 3 Nabucco Va, pensiero 4 Aida Se quel guerrier Celeste Aida 5 interval Nabucco Overture 8 La traviata Lunge da lei De miei bollenti spiriti 2 Rigoletto Questa o quella 2 arr. J. Strauss II Quadrille on motifs from Un ballo in maschera 5 Luisa Miller Oh! fede negar potessi Quando le sere al placido 4 Il trovatore Vedi, le fosche notturne ( Anvil Chorus ) 7 Otello Niun mi tema! 4 There will be one interval of 20 minutes in this performance; the first and second halves of the concert each last approximately 35 minutes. Roberto Alagna will be signing CDs on the ground floor foyer after tonight s performance. Barbican Hall The Barbican is provided by the City of London Corporation. Find out first Why not download your Great Performers programme before the concert? Programmes are now available online five days in advance of each concert. To download your programme, find out full details of concerts, watch videos or listen to soundclips, visit Due to possible last-minute changes, the online content may differ slightly from that of the printed version.

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3 Viva Verdi! Notes and texts Giuseppe Verdi ( ) as a man and a musician is the magnificent sum of his own contradictions. A patriot, indeed nationalist, who wrote operas for an international audience, for Paris, St Petersburg, Cairo and London as well as his own country; a businessman who counted every penny yet who gave generously to friends and charities; and an agnostic with a deep distrust of organised religion whose finest soprano arias are often extended prayers. Musically conservative, yet building on the achievements of Donizetti, he was a composer who changed the form of Italian opera; a musician who cared passionately about singers and casting the right artists in his works, yet was always pushing his singers beyond bel canto. Sopranos, certainly, and baritones too; and eventually after a somewhat less than leading role in Verdi s first four operas the tenor began to move centre-stage, always encouraged to do things in an entirely new manner the phrase to which Verdi kept returning when trying to explain what he wanted from the first cast of Macbeth in Macbeth is the first of three Verdi operas which turn Shakespeare into music drama. (There might have been a fourth Lear to join Macbeth and that pair of late Indian summer masterpieces, Otello and Falstaff. It was a project that tantalisingly slipped in and out of the composer s entire professional life.) Shakespeare s tragedy Macbeth, Verdi wrote to his librettist Francesco Maria Piave is one of the greatest creations of the human spirit. If we cannot make something great out of it, let us at least do something out of the ordinary. Yet, when Macbeth was given its first performance in Florence in 1847, the patriotic chorus Patria oppressa! cannot have sounded particularly out of the ordinary. It s sung by Scottish exiles who have fled to England to escape the murderous Macbeth, making it a close relative to Va, pensiero from Nabucco, another chorus for exiles sitting by the waters of Babylon and weeping Macbeth Patria oppressa! Chorus Patria oppressa! il dolce nome No, di madre aver non puoi, Or che tutta a figli tuoi Sei conversa in un avel. D orfanelli e di piangenti Chi lo sposo e chi la prole Al venir del nuovo sole S alza un grido e fere il ciel. A quel grido il ciel risponde Quasi voglia impietosito Propagar per l infinito, Patria oppressa, il tuo dolor. Suona a morto ognor la squilla, Ma nessuno audace è tanto Che pur doni un vano pianto A chi soffre ed a chi muor. Homeland oppressed! the sweet name Of mother, no, you cannot claim, Now that to all thy children Thou art changed into a tomb. From orphans and from the bereaved Who are the spouse and who are the children At the coming of the new sun Raises a cry and strikes heaven. To which cry heaven responds As if t would, moved to pity, Spread o er the infinite, Homeland, oppressed, thy sorrow. Tolls for death ever the knell, But none is so daring As yet to shed a vain tear For those who suffer and those who die. 3

4 and for Hebrew slaves and Scottish exiles read Italians yearning to throw out the Austrians and unite their country. But when Verdi revised the opera for its Parisian premiere in 1865 he spiced up Patria oppressa. Out went a rather old-fashioned, regular-footed piece and in its place we hear all manner of daring harmonies that flirt with the kind of dissonance that Verdi was to put to such expressive use in the Requiem. The plum part in Macbeth, that of the villain himself, goes to the baritone. But then what is there for the tenor to do in a story with no obvious, or at least conventional, love interest? Save the day of course and rescue Scotland from the Macbeths. Macduff will eventually liberate Scotland from the murderous duo but first this Macduff needs an aria and Verdi obliges with O figli Ah, la paterna mano in Act 4 of the opera, when the news arrives that his wife and children have been murdered by the tyrant. It s a romanza in a standard minor/major form but not simply a conventional operatic interpolation into the action. In the right hands it s an aria of immense cumulative power, not simply something for the tenor to do to earn his applause, even if Macduff does have to share his cabaletta with Malcolm, the future king of Scotland. By the time Verdi came to compose La forza del destino in 1861, the tenor was centre-stage, where he would remain for the rest of the composer s career. He had become the suffering hero, with the top of the voice suffused with grief and pain, thwarted in love and defeated by politics. A figure altogether too good for this world and with a vocal timbre to prove it. (Think of Carlo s final encounter with Elisabetta in Don Carlo.) And no middle-period Verdi hero suffers more than Don Alvaro in La forza del destino. Commissioned for St Petersburg, the premiere almost didn t happen. Five days after the opera was finished, in November 1861, Verdi and his wife Giuseppina set off for Russia via France armed with a good supply of Macbeth O figli Ah, la paterna mano O figli, o figlio miei! Da quel tiranno tutti uccisi voi foste, E insiem con voi la madre sventurata! Ah, fra gli artigli di quel tigre Io lasciai la madre e i figli! Ah! la paterna mano non vi fu scudo, o cari, Dai perfidi sicari che a morte vi ferîr! E me fuggiasco, occulto voi chiamavate invano Coll ultimo singulto, Coll ultimo respir. Ah! Trammi al tiranno in faccia, Signore, e s ei mi sfugge Possa a colui le braccia del tuo perdono aprir. Ah, sons, my dear sons! You all were killed by that tyrant, And, together with you, your unhappy mother too! Ah, into the claws of that tiger I abandoned The mother and her sons! Ah! The paternal hand didn t defend you, my dears, From the hired ruffians who struck you dead! And you looked in vain for me, a concealed fugitive, With your last sobs, With your last sighs. Ah! Bring me in front of that tyrant, Lord, and if he escapes from Me, may I offer him to your forgiveness.

5 Neapolitan pasta and French wines. En route they heard that the premiere had been cancelled. The singers voices, Giuseppina wrote to a friend, are as fragile as I leave you to finish the sentence. Destiny or rather fate which is the great Romantic theme of La forza del destino had struck and it would be a year before a Russian audience finally got to hear fate knocking at the door, with those ominous thricerepeated chords at the start of the Overture. And it s an overture that does exactly what overtures are supposed to do. It relates the musical story of the work before the curtain rises: how Don Alvaro accidentally dropped a pistol that killed the father of Leonora, the girl he was running away with, and how her brother Carlo drove the lovers to their fate sometime in the middle of the 18th century. Verdi s orchestra is beginning to tell his audience all manner of things about his characters. So the exquisite Introduzione to Alvaro s scena and aria La vita è inferno all infelice O tu che in seno agli angeli allows the clarinet to meditate on a theme from earlier in the opera which is associated with the purity and holiness of his love for Leonora, whom Alvaro now believes to be dead. The same theme will recur as Alvaro, now fighting under an assumed name in a Franco-Spanish army, provides us with a little of his history though rather through a glass darkly, it has to be said. Then comes his aria O tu che in seno agli angeli. This is not the passionate Verdi tenor caught up in the white-hot heat of romantic love, but the Romantic hero cheated of what might have been his. So the one constant musical idea is a rising sixth, a kind of deep musical sigh of regret. The great Verdi scholar Julian Budden was surely right when he wrote of this aria that it perfectly illustrates Wordsworth s emotion recollected in tranquillity [as] Verdi explores the inward aspects of Romanticism. Perhaps the tenor only comes into his own in Verdi when the composer begins to explore this meditative side of European Romanticism. La forza del destino La vita è inferno Oh tu che in seno agli angeli La vita è inferno all infelice. Invano morte desio! Siviglia! Leonora! Oh, rimembranza! Oh, notte ch ogni ben mi rapisti. Sarò infelice eternamente, è scritto. Della natal sua terra il padre volle Spezzar l estranio giogo, E coll unirsi All ultima dell Incas la corona Cingere confidò. Fu vana impresa! In un carcere nacqui; M educava il deserto; Sol vivo perché ignota È mia regale stirpe. I miei parenti sognarono un trono, E li destò la scure! Oh, quando fine avran Le mie sventure? Oh tu che in seno agli angeli Eternamente pura, Salisti bella, incolume Dalla mortal jattura. Non iscordar di volger Lo sguardo a me tapino, Che senza nome ed esule, In odio del destino, Chiedo anelando, Ahi misero, La morte d incontrar. Leonora mia, soccorrimi, Pietà del mio penar! Pietà di me! My life has been hell, a misery. I ve sought death, but in vain! Seville! Leonora! Oh, what memories! That night robbed me of all my happiness. I m doomed to eternal sorrow. My father dreamed of freeing our land from Spanish rule, And when he married The last Inca princess, He believed the crown secured. All an illusion! I was born in a prison and Raised in the desert; I survived only because none Knew of my royal blood. My parents dreamed of a throne, And they awoke under the axe! Oh, when will my misfortunes end? Leonora, you now rest in the arms of the angels. In heaven you are free of earthly cares. Remember to look upon this wretched being, Upon this nameless exile, Despised by destiny, All I ask is that death Ends my misery. Leonora, dearest, comfort me. Have pity on my suffering! Have pity on me! 5

6 The white-hot heat of romantic love is, by contrast, very much to the fore in Verdi s operatic trip to the Holy Land itself, to the Crusades, in I lombardi alla prima crociata of At last the tenor is allowed to twinkle, if not exactly shine, as the young lover Oronte a Saracen, son of the ruler of Antioch falls in love with the Christian Giselda. It s all there in a charming cavatina, La mia letizia infondere, the secret love that cannot be told, a love that is just one step away from heavenly bliss. Good solid tenor territory and Verdi writes a nicely old-fashioned number decked out with a jolly tune yet with a beat to the music that looks forward as well as backwards. Just a year earlier, still some way off discovering the meditative aspect of Romanticism, we find Verdi responding to an altogether brasher version of the new sensibility that had all of intellectual Europe on its knees in the first four decades of the 19th century. History is read and seen as a vast panorama where ignorant armies clash by night, where princes and powers scheme for glory, and life is a fight to the death between love and duty: the world of Victor Hugo s baggy dramas that enthralled Parisian audiences and enraged the French censor. Nabucco (1842) was Verdi s first unequivocal hit. Indeed, the clash between the Children of Israel and Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon and their resulting moral triumph and his descent into madness resembles nothing so much as a huge mural commissioned for a 19th-century town hall or opera house. And audiences loved it. With Nabucco, said the composer, my career can be said to have begun. Since then I have never lacked for commissions. The Overture, workmanlike though it is, is not the heart of Nabucco, though among the music it previews from the opera you do hear for the first time the music for Va, pensiero that drives the whole work. This chorus of the Hebrew Slaves is, of course, a kind of national anthem, designed to bring an Italian audience to their political I lombardi alla prima crociata La mia letizia infondere La mia letizia infondere Vorrei nel suo bel core! Vorrei destar co palpiti Del mio beato amore, Tante armonie nell etere Quanti pianeti egli ha: Ah! ir seco al cielo, ed ergermi, Dove mortal non va. Come poteva un angelo Crear sì puro il cielo. E agli occhi suoi non schiudere Di veritade il velo? Vieni, m adduci a lei, Rischiari i sensi miei, Vieni, e nel ver s acquetino La dubbia mente e il cor. Nabucco Va, pensiero Chorus Va, pensiero sull ali dorate Va, ti posa sui clivi, sui colli, Ove olezzano tepide e molli L aure dolci del suolo natal. Del Giordano le rive saluta, Di Sionne le torri atterrate O, mia patria sì bella e perduta! O membranza sì cara e fatal. Arpa d or dei fatidici vati, Perchè muta dal salice pendi? If only my heartfelt joy Could stir her feelings! If only she could share my Passionate love, Then the universe would be Filled with harmony: Ah! If only I could fly with her to heaven, Where no mortal can go. I believe this angel of love Prays to the only true God. How could heaven create so pure an angel Without revealing the truth to her? Come, lead me to her, She will enlighten me, The sight of her will soothe my Doubting heart and mind. Go, thought, on golden wings Go, alight on the cliffs, on the hills, Where there are wafting the warm and gentle Sweet breezes of our native land. Greet the Jordan s banks, The fallen towers of Zion Oh, my fatherland so beautiful and so lost! Oh, remembrance so dear and fatal. Harp of gold of the prophet bards, Why do you hang silent, from the willow? 6

7 feet. But the shape of this music also sets a pattern which Verdi found irresistible for almost all of his composing life: a long-limbed melody punctuated by bursts of triplets as it makes its stately way home. It s noble music, with just a hint of heroic possibilities. Verdi chose his singers with great care. His correspondence is littered with requests for particular singers and speculations about their strengths and weaknesses. And while matching the song to the singer had always been a part of the Italian tradition, Verdi also matched the singer to his song. In Francesco Tamagno he found exactly the kind of heroic tenor he wanted for the roles of Otello and Radames. A big voice, certainly, with ringing tone. But not a voice that turned its back on the gentler art of the lyric tenor. And maybe this blend of the heroic and lyric tenor neatly encapsulates the theme that preoccupied Verdi in nearly all of his later operas the conflict between public duty and private happiness. So in Celeste Aida Radames is every inch the warrior, but when he hopes for victory in the coming battle it is for the sake of Aida, the Ethiopian Princess enslaved by the Egyptians with whom he has fallen head over heels in love. Verdi writes a three-part aria that is by turns big and brash, but tender too. Short on self-awareness perhaps, but then Radames scarcely seems a man to have lived the examined life. Interval: 20 minutes Le memorie nel petto raccendi Ci favella del tempo che fu. O simile di Solima ai fati, Traggi un suono di crudo lamento O t ispiri il Signore un concento Che ne infonda al patire virtù. Aida Se quel guerrier Celeste Aida Se quel guerrier io fossi! Se il mio sogno si avverasse! Un esercito di prodi da me guidato E la vittoria e il plauso di Menfi tutta! E a te, mia dolce Aida, Tornar di lauri cinto Dirti: per te ho pugnato, Per te ho vinto! Celeste Aida, forma divina, Mistico serto di luce e fior, Del mio pensiero tu sei regina, Tu di mia vita sei lo splendor. Il tuo bel cielo vorrei ridarti, Le dolci brezze del patrio suol: Un regal serto sul crin posarti, Ergerti un trono vicino al sol. Rekindle the memories in our breast That speak to us of the time that was. O [harp], like Solomon to the fates, Draw a sound of harsh lamentation May the Lord inspire in thee an accord Which might infuse our suffering with endurance. If I were that warrior! If my dream came true! An army of brave men led by me And victory and the praise of all Memphis! And to you, my sweet Aida, Returning wrapped in laurels I would say: I ve fought for You, I ve won for you! Heavenly Aida, divine shape, Mystic garland of light and flowers, You are queen of my thoughts, You are the splendour of my life. I would like to give you your sky back, The sweet breeze of the fatherland: To put a regal garland on your heart To build up a throne for you next to the sun. 7

8 In general, Verdi s tenors are not much given to detailed introspection at least in the earliest operas that made Verdi s name throughout Europe: Rigoletto, Il trovatore and La traviata. Or, if they are, it is just a passing mood and then it s on to another round of pleasure. Isn t there something just a little smug about Alfredo s Act 2 scena and aria Lunge da lei per me De miei bollenti spiriti in La traviata (1853)? Those racing, tremulous strings at the start are surely a reminder that the story of his bliss that Alfredo is about to share with us is only possible because of Violetta the same Violetta who is paying the bills. Violetta and her fragile health are there again in the pizzicato strings that hover just below the surface of the spacious melody Verdi gives to Alfredo in the aria proper. And the tenor who gives the final phrase a little vocal flourish only underscores Alfredo s implicit narcissism. La traviata Lunge da lei De miei bollenti spiriti Lunge da lei per me non v ha diletto! Volaron già tre lune Dacchè la mia Violetta Agi per me lasciò, dovizie, Amori e le pompose feste, Ov agli omaggi avvezza, Vedea schiavo ciascun di sua bellezza. Ed or contenta in questi ameni luoghi Tutto scorda per me. Qui presso a lei io rinascer mi sento, E dal soffio d amor rigenerato, Scordo ne gaudi suoi tutto il passato. De miei bollenti spiriti Il giovanile ardore Ella temprò col placido Sorriso dell amore! Dal dì che disse: Vivere Io voglio a te fedel! Dell universo immemore Io vivo quasi in ciel. There s no pleasure in life when she s away! It s three months now since Violetta gave up for me Her easy, luxurious life Of love affairs and expensive parties, There she was used to the homage of all, Who were enslaved by her beauty. But she seems happy here in this charming place, Where she forgets everything for me. With her beside me, I feel myself reborn, Revived by the breath of love, Forgetting the past in present delights. My passionate spirit And the fire of youth She tempers with the Gentle smile of love! Since the day when she told me: I want to live, Faithful to you alone! I have forgotten the world And lived like one in heaven. 8

9 For the genuine article arrant narcissism listen no further than to the Duke in Rigoletto. Faced with this serial seducer, you can almost sympathise with the censor who wrote of Piave s libretto that it was replete with repellent immorality and obscene triviality. But Verdi knew what he was doing. The Duke, he wrote absolutely must be a libertine. Without that there can be no justification for [Rigoletto s] fear that his daughter might come out of her hiding place. Questa o quella is the first of two cynical credos sung by the Duke; the other is La donna è mobile. At the end of the opera women are fickle, at the start two a penny for a man s pleasure. And yet what Julian Budden calls the skipping elegance of [this] ballata is irresistible. Amoral but packed with charm. This was music that charmed its way deep into the hearts of all manner of 19th-century men and women. Remember the poet Alfred Noyes and the barrel organ churning away in Kew at lilac time? And there La traviata sighs Another sadder song; And there Il trovatore cries A tale of deeper wrong Franz Liszt, who knew a popular thing when he heard it, wrote Rigoletto Concert Paraphrase for the piano and Johann Strauss the younger turned a handful of themes from Un ballo in maschera into a quadrille, a group dance that seems to have originated in France. In the beginning, quadrilles used traditional tunes, but Johann Strauss II borrowed songs and opera arias that were popular in his own day for his dances. Hence the Quadrille on motifs from Un ballo in maschera. Riccardo in Un ballo is a new kind of Verdian tenor hero, more thoughtful than his predecessors and less heroic than those of the later years: a lyric tenor, sensitive to his own feelings and those of other people. It is Rodolfo in Luisa Miller, written in 1849, a decade before Un ballo, who initiated this change of direction. It s a role that has Rigoletto Questa o quella Questa o quella per me pari sono, A quant altre d intorno mi vedo, Del mio core l impero non cedo Meglio ad una che ad altre beltà. La costoro avvenenza è qual dono Di che il fato ne infiora la vita. S oggi questa mi torna gradita Forse un altra doman lo sarà. La costanza tiranna del core Detestiamo qual morbo crudele, Sol chi vuole si serbi fedele; Non v ha amor se non v è libertà. De mariti il geloso furore Degli amanti le smanie derido, Anco d Argo i cent occhi disfido Se mi punge una qualche beltà. Luisa Miller Oh! fede negar potessi Quando le sere al placido Oh! fede negar potessi Agl occhi miei! Se cielo e terra, Se mortali ed angeli This girl or that girl are just the same to me, To all the others around me, I won t give away my heart To this beauty nor to the others. Their charm is a gift Given by destiny to embellish their lives. If today I love this one I ll probably love someone else tomorrow. We hate constancy, the heart s tyrant, As if it were a cruel plague, Let those who wish to be faithful stay faithful. There is no love without freedom. The rage of jealous husbands And lovers woes I despise, I can defy Argus hundred eyes If I fancy a beautiful girl. Oh! If I could only doubt The evidence of my own eyes! Should heaven and earth, Mortals and angels 9

10 been described as one of the best integrated, most rewarding tenor roles in all Verdi. Now the music is cast in a quieter style better suited to everyday emotions and everyday people. It was perhaps time spent in Paris that encouraged Verdi to take the grandiose out of grand opera. The use of regular stanzas in Rodolfo s aria Quando le sere al placido seems to acknowledge a debt to French composers such as Grétry and Auber. How simple the aria, but how complicated the story. Suffice it to say that Rodolfo has seen a letter in which Luisa denies that she ever loved him. Meanwhile but,no, that way lies acres of plot and plotting! No need to plot one of Verdi s most celebrated choruses: the Anvil Chorus from Il trovatore (1853), with a tribe of gypsies, eyes glued to the conductor, beating out their song to the rhythm of on-stage anvils. And so to Otello (1887), the first of Verdi s two late masterpieces and a return to his beloved Shakespeare, the artist whom he had admired above all others throughout his adult life. With Otello we arrive at the third age of the Verdian tenor. Heroic, certainly; a man of action, too, but psychologically more complex than Radames, and pitted against pure evil. That word nulla (nothing) in the penultimate line of Iago s Credo crosses the footlights like a blast of Arctic air. All we can hope for is a brief moment of dignity at our end. And that is granted to Otello in his final aria, Niun mi tema!. As Julian Budden suggests, the finest interpreters of the role understand that no tenor part of Verdi s is encrusted with more nuances. The heroic, the lyric and above all the simply human meet at Otello s moment of death, our sense of loss somehow absolute as the orchestra murmurs the music from the love duet from Act I and sounds an ambivalent benediction in a sequence of chords that never quite resolve. Programme note by Christopher Cook 2008 attestarmi volesser ch ella non è rea, Mentite! io risponder dovrei: Tutti mentite! Son cifre sue! Tanta perfidia! Un alma Sì nera! sì mendace! Ben la conobbe il padre! Ma dunque i giuri, le speranze, La gioia, le lagrime, l affanno? Tutto è menzogna, tradimento, inganno! Quando le sere al placido Chiaror d un ciel stellato Meco figgea nell etere lo sguardo innamorato, E questa mano stringermi Dalla sua man sentia Ah! mi tradia! Mi tradia! Allor, ch io muto, estatico Da labbri suoi pendea, Ed ella in suon angelico, Amo te sol dicea, Tal che sembrò l empireo Aprirsi all alma mia! In suon angelico, Amo te sol dicea. Ah! mi tradia! Mi tradia! assure me of her innocence, Lies! I would have to reply: You all lie! This is her hand! Such perfidy! A soul So black, so deceitful! My father knew her well! But what of the promises, the hopes, The joy, the tears, the suffering? All lies, treachery, deceit! When at night in the serene Light of a starry sky She and I gazed lovingly Into the heavens, And I felt her hand Warmly on mine Ah! she betrayed me! She betrayed me! Then I, silent, ecstatic, Listened to her words As she, with an angelic voice, Said I love only you, So that paradise Seemed to open to my soul! With an angelic voice, She said I love only you. Ah! she betrayed me! She betrayed me! 10

11 Il trovatore Vedi, le fosche notturne ( Anvil Chorus ) Chorus Vedi, le fosche notturne spoglie De cieli sveste l immensa volta; Sembra una vedova che alfin si toglie I bruni panni ond era involta. All opra, All opra, Dagli, martella! Chi del gitano i giorni abbella? La zingarella! Versami un tratto; lena e coraggio Il corpo e l anima traggon dal bere. Oh guarda, guarda! Del sole un Raggio brilla più vivido nel mio bicchiere! Look, see how the darkness of night is lifting And revealing the great vault of heaven; It seems like a widow who is finally casting off The dark clothes in which she was enveloped. To work, to work, Ready, hammer! Who cheers up the gypsy s days? The gypsy lady! Pour me a drink; body and soul draw strength And courage from drink. Oh look, look! A sun s ray Shines brighter in my glass! Otello Niun mi tema! Niun mi tema S anco armato mi vede, Ecco la fine del mio cammin. Oh! Gloria! Otello fu. E tu, come sei pallida! E stanca, e muta, e bella, Pia creatura nata sotto maligna stella. Fredda come la casta tua vita E in cielo assorta. Desdemona! Desdemona! Ah morta! Morta! Morta! Ho un arma ancor! Pria d ucciderti sposa ti baciai. Or morendo nell ombra In cui mi giacio Un bacio un bacio ancora Ah! un altro bacio Do not be afraid, Though you see me armed, This is my journey s end. Oh! Glory! Otello is no more. How pale you are! How wan, how silent, how beautiful, Good creature, you were born under an evil star How cold like your chastity And your soul is now in heaven s hands. Desdemona! Desdemona! Ah dead! Dead! Dead! I still have a weapon! I kissed you my wife before I killed you. No way but this Killing myself to die upon a kiss A kiss one more kiss Only one more kiss All opra, all opra Dagli, martella! To work, to work Ready, hammer! Chi del gitano i giorni abbella? La zingarella! Who cheers up the gypsy s days? The gypsy lady! 11

12 About the performers Roberto Alagna tenor Roberto Alagna was born in France of Sicilian parents and began music lessons aged 10. When he was 17 he appeared in various Parisian cabarets as writer-composerperformer, and he later enrolled at the Opera School in Paris, where he met Simone Féjard with whom he still collaborates. In 1988 he won first prize at the Luciano Pavarotti Competition in Philadelphia and made his UK debut with Glyndebourne on Tour in the role of Alfredo (La traviata), a role he would go on to sing throughout Europe and in Japan. He next took on the role of Rodolfo (La bohème), appearing for the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, Vienna Staatsoper, Opéra de Paris, the Metropolitan Opera, the Gran Teatre del Liceo in Barcelona and La Scala, Milan. His operatic repertory includes Tosca, La rondine, Madama Butterfly, Manon Lescaut, L elisir d amore, Lucia di Lammermoor, Roberto Devereux, Il trovatore, Don Carlos, Aida, Simon Boccanegra, Macbeth, Roméo et Juliette, Faust, Werther, Manon, L amico Fritz, Carmen, Alfano s Cyrano de Bergerac, Andrea Chénier and Gluck s Orphée et Eurydice. Forthcoming performances include Cyrano de Bergerac and Andrea Chénier in Monte Carlo; Faust in Orange, Vienna and Paris; La rondine in New York; Cavalleria rusticana and Pagliacci in New York and Orange; Francesca da Rimini in Paris; Carmen in New York, London, Berlin and Barcelona; and La bohème and L elisir d amore in London. He has appeared on many award-winning recordings including La traviata, Rigoletto, L elisir d amore, The Tales of Hoffmann, Gianni Schicchi and La bohème, as well making many recital discs and DVDs. Cinema marked a new step in the career of Roberto Alagna, when he starred in a highly successful 2001 film adaptation of Puccini s Tosca. Ion Marin conductor One of the most exciting conductors of his generation, Romanian-born Ion Marin is now an Austrian citizen. He trained at the George Enescu Academy in Bucharest, followed by the Salzburg Mozarteum and the Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Siena. Ion Marin s first major post was as Resident Conductor at the Vienna Staatsoper from 1986 to Since 1994 he has conducted for virtually all the major international opera houses, including the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Hamburg State Opera, Opéra de Paris, La Fenice and Dresden Semperoper. Recently he conducted Manon for La Scala, Milan, La rondine for San Francisco Opera and Werther for the Bavarian State Opera. Ion Marin has also established a solid reputation in the concert hall, having worked with the London Symphony Orchestra, Staatskapelle Dresden, Leipzig Gewandhaus, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre National de France, Accademia di Santa Cecilia and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Last season he took up the post of Principal Guest Conductor of the Russian National Philharmonic and also worked with the Berlin, Munich and Oslo Philharmonic orchestras, Vienna Symphony Orchestra and Budapest Festival Orchestra. This season, in addition to his regular European commitments, he has engagements with the NHK Symphony in Tokyo, the KBS Symphony in Seoul and the New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra. His award-winning discography includes works by Donizetti, Mozart, Rodrigo and Rossini, as well as recordings with singers such as Roberto Alagna, Cecilia Bartoli, Plácido Domingo, Angela Gheorghiu and Dmitri Hvorostovsky. 12

13 London Symphony Chorus The London Symphony Chorus was formed in It has a broad repertory and has commissioned works from Sir John Tavener, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, Michael Berkeley and Jonathan Dove. A recent highlight was the world premiere of James MacMillan s St John Passion with the LSO and Sir Colin Davis as well as other concerts in the Barbican, Royal Festival Hall, Royal Albert Hall and St Paul s Cathedral. The Chorus tours extensively throughout Europe and has visited Israel, Australia, the Far East and the USA. It has recently returned from a performance of Mahler s Symphony No. 8 in Paris with the Orchestre de Paris under Christoph Eschenbach. This autumn it returns to the USA with performances of Verdi s Requiem in Denver with the Lamont Symphony Orchestra under Lawrence Golan. The Chorus has an extensive discography, including many recordings with Richard Hickox; most recently Vaughan Williams s A Sea Symphony. Its latest collaboration with Sir Colin Davis and the LSO is Mozart s Requiem, which has just been released. Other recordings with Sir Colin include Sibelius s Kullervo (which won a BBC Music Magazine Award last year), Verdi s Falstaff (which won a Grammy Award), Elgar s The Dream of Gerontius, plus a series of highly acclaimed Berlioz recordings. While maintaining special links with the LSO, the Chorus has partnered many other orchestras in the UK, including the Royal Philharmonic, Philharmonia, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, City of Birmingham and BBC Symphony orchestras and BBC National Orchestra of Wales. Internationally, it has worked with many leading orchestras, including the Berlin Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, European Union Youth Orchestra and the Vienna Philharmonic. The London Symphony Chorus is always interested in recruiting new members, welcoming applications from singers of all backgrounds, subject to an audition. For further information call Helen Lawford, Auditions Secretary, on or apply online at Sopranos Kerry Baker Carol Capper Debra Colvin Anna Daventry Gabrielle Edwards Kate Gardner Ashley Germain Jo Gueritz Gladys Hosken Debbie Jone Rei Kozaki Helen Lawford Cinde Lee Rachael Leggett Alison Marshall Margarita Matusevich Jane Morle Emily Norto Maggie Owen Varuni Paranavitane Carole Radfor Maria Simoes Amanda Thomas * Kate Turner Zoe Williams Altos Sarah Biggs Elizabeth Boyden Gina Broderick Alexis Calice Yvonne Cohen Genevieve Cope Janette Daines Maggie Donnelly Linda Evans Lydia Frankenburg Christina Gibbs Yoko Harada Elisabeth Iles Sue Jones Gillian Lawson Susan Lee Catherine Lenson Belinda Liao Etsuko Makita Aoife McInerney Gulay Saritas-Willsher Nesta Scott Suleen Syn Claire Trocmé About the performers Curzon Tussaud Rebecca Walker Judith Youdell Mimi Zadeh Tenors Paul Allatt Simon Bainbridge Lorne Cuthbert Joseph Denby John Farrington Stephen Hogg Tony Instrall David Leonard John Marks Alastair Mathews Malcolm Nightingale Panos Ntourntoufis Stuart Packford Rik Phillips Harold Raitt Mattia Romani Takeshi Stokoe Malcolm Taylor Owen Toller James Warbis * Robert Ward * Paul Williams-Burton Basses David Armour Peter Avis Joe Bahoshy Bruce Boyd Andy Chan David Clark Alastair Forbes Robert Garbolinski John Graham Robin Hall Owen Hanmer * Derrick Hogermeer Anthony Howick * David Illingworth Alex Kidney Gregor Kowalski Geoff Newman Alan Rochford Nic Seager Ed Smith Nick Weekes * denotes member of Council 13

14 About the performers London Symphony Orchestra As well as being regarded as one of the world s leading orchestras on the strength of its performances, the London Symphony Orchestra is also highly visible outside the concert hall. It has a ground-breaking education and community programme, a record company, a music education centre and undertakes exciting work in the field of information technology, and much more. At its Barbican home in the City, the LSO promotes more concerts than any other classical music organisation in London, and its LSO Live recordings made there take the Orchestra to a worldwide audience. In film soundtracks such as all six Star Wars films on radio, TV, on computer games, on planes and online, you can hear the LSO just about anywhere where music is enjoyed. LSO Live is the best-selling orchestral own-label in the world, and is regularly No. 1 in the classical downloads charts on itunes. Five minutes from the Barbican, at LSO St Luke s, the UBS and LSO music education centre, the LSO is expanding its artistic programme to include BBC TV Sessions, BBC Radio 3 lunchtime chamber concerts and UBS Soundscapes: Eclectica concerts with world-class artists from diverse musical backgrounds. LSO Discovery is facilitating music education and community musicmaking, using LSO musicians and animateurs, and new technology to build ever stronger links with local people and in East London schools. More than 100 years after it was formed, the LSO still attracts excellent players, many of whom have flourishing solo, chamber music and teaching careers alongside their orchestral work. The LSO s roster of soloists and conductors is second to none, starting with Principal Conductor Valery Gergiev, LSO President Sir Colin Davis, and Daniel Harding and Michael Tilson Thomas as Principal Guest Conductors. Violin I Carmine Lauri co-leader Lennox Mackenzie sub-leader Nicholas Wright Robin Brightman Jörg Hammann Michael Humphrey Maxine Kwok Claire Parfitt Elizabeth Pigram Colin Renwick Ian Rhodes Gabrielle Painter Ellie Fagg Geoffrey Silver Violin II Evgeny Grach Tom Norris * David Ballesteros Richard Blayden Matthew Gardner Belinda McFarlane Paul Robson Stephen Rowlinson Iwona Muszynska Norman Clarke Giovanni Guzzo Oriana Kriszten Viola Paul Silverthorne Gillianne Haddow Richard Holttum Robert Turner Jonathan Welch Gina Zagni Nancy Johnson Caroline O Neill Peter Norriss Duff Burns Cello Rebecca Gilliver Alastair Blayden Jennifer Brown Noel Bradshaw Keith Glossop Maria Zachariadou Alexandra Mackenzie Claire Thirion Double Bass Colin Paris Nicholas Worters * Axel Bouchaux Michael Francis Tom Goodman Gerald Newson Flute Karen Jones + Martin Parry Piccolo Sharon Williams Oboe Kieron Moore John Lawley Cor Anglais Christine Pendrill Clarinet Andrew Marriner Chi Yu Mo Bassoon Susumu Takahashi + Joost Bosdijk Dominic Morgan Robin Kennard 14

15 Orchestra list Horn David Pyatt Jonathan Lipton Brendan Thomas David McQueen Nick Hougham Trumpet David Gordon + Gerald Ruddock Nigel Gomm Ben Godfrey Trombone Katy Jones Robert Workman Andrew Connington Bass Trombone Paul Milner Tuba Patrick Harrild Timpani Nigel Thomas Percussion Neil Percy David Jackson Alexander Neal Harp Karen Vaughan Gabriella Dall Olio principal + guest principal * sub-principal President Sir Colin Davis CH Principal Conductor Valery Gergiev Principal Guest Conductors Daniel Harding Michael Tilson Thomas Conductor Laureate André Previn KBE Barbican Committee Chairman John Barker OBE Deputy Chairman Jeremy Mayhew MBA Committee Members Mary Lou Carrington MBA Christine Cohen OBE Stuart John Fraser Maureen Kellett Lesley King Lewis Catherine McGuiness Joyce Nash OBE Barbara Newman CBE John Owen Ward John Robins Keith Salway John Tomlinson Clerk to the Committee Stuart Pick Barbican Directorate Managing Director Sir Nicholas Kenyon Artistic Director Graham Sheffield Commercial and Venue Services Director Mark Taylor Projects and Building Services Director Michael Hoch Finance Director Sandeep Dwesar Personal Assistant to Sir Nicholas Kenyon Ali Ribchester Barbican Music Department Head of Music Robert van Leer Executive Producer Vicky Cheetham Music Programmers Gijs Elsen Bryn Ormrod Programming Consultant Angela Dixon Programming Assistants Andrea Jung Katy Morrison Concerts Planning Manager Frances Bryant Music Administrator Thomas Hardy Head of Marketing Chris Denton Marketing Campaign Managers Bethan Sheppard Greg Fearon Acting Music Marketing Executive Sarah Hemingway Acting Performing Arts Marketing Assistant Jessica Tomkins Media Relations Ginny Macbeth & Dennis Chang, Macbeth Media Relations Media Relations Managers Alex Webb Annikaisa Vainio Media Relations Officer Hannah Kendall Senior Production Manager Eddie Shelter Production Managers Jessica Buchanan-Barrow Alison Cooper Jonathan Mayes Senior Event Manager Rachel Smith Event Managers Claire Corns Kate Packham Fiona Todd Production Coordinator Catherine Langston Technical Managers Eamonn Byrne Jasja van Andel Ingo Reinhardt Technical Supervisors Mark Bloxsidge Steve Mace Technicians Maurice Adamson Jason Kew Sean McDill Martin Shaw Associate Producer Elizabeth Burgess Stage Managers Christopher Alderton Julie-Anne Bolton Stage Supervisor Paul Harcourt Senior Stage Assistants Andy Clarke Hannah Wye Stage Assistants Ademola Akisanya Michael Casey Trevor Davison Martin Thompson Technical and Stage Coordinator Colette Chilton Programme produced by Harriet Smith; printed by Sharp Print Limited; advertising by Cabbell (tel ) Please make sure that all digital watch alarms and mobile phones are switched off during the performance. In accordance with the requirements of the licensing authority, sitting or standing in any gangway is not permitted. Smoking is not permitted anywhere on the Barbican premises. No eating or drinking is allowed in the auditorium. No cameras, tape recorders or any other recording equipment may be taken into the hall. Barbican Centre Silk Street, London EC2Y 8DS Administration Box Office

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