|Camille Claudel (December 8, 1864 – October 19, 1943) was a French sculptor and graphic artist. (Public domain - expired copyright)|
Next up, whilst the mezzo – or rather her ankle- was put on ice, was Debussy’s string quartet performed beautifully by the Brentano String Quartet. This was a beautiful, sensitive rendering of the piece and set the ground for the show’s climax.
After the interval, it was Heggie’s song cycle was played for the first time. Belle époque Paris must have bene something to behold. We got a flavour of the creative hotbed in Paris, when Heggie pointed out in the after show discussion, casually, that Kiri Te Kanawa was in the audience, to spontaneous delight and applause. Claudel, the sculptor, was friends with Proust, Hahn, and a lover of Debussy; and this took a series of her sculptures as inspiration.
Heggie’s song cycle Into the fire, was exceptional. A work of incalculable beauty. It gave the impression of at once handling the sculptures (represented in the programme) in delicate hands, and being inside them. This was warm music –rather than the cold, experimental kind. There was tune and rhythm. Meditative, melancholy, and made for Joyce: it showed her off, and she showed off them, and at the same time, her coloratura could be flashed to the delight of the audience. It let her go from 0 – 100 mph in no time at all. Powerful yet tender at once. The epilogue was deeply moving: “Jessie Lipscomb visits Camille Claudel, Motdevergues Asylum, 1929”. The pair are pictured below - the patient and her visitor. In a few verses the horror of the situation was captured perfectly. This wasn't a big star pleasing a crowd with old numbers and best hits.
|Camille Claudel and Jessie Lipscomb (on the right)November 1885 – December 1887 (Public domain - expired copyright)|
Overall: Everything is “curated” today. But that's what this concert was- an exquisite exhibition of music and song and almost included the objects. DiDonato’s dynamic range, warmth, and power were shown off superbly.