Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Two desperate housewives (Poulenc/Wigmore)

Antonacci and Sulzen, La dame de Monte Carlo and La Voix Humaine
Yesterday’s lunchtime concert from the Wigmore Hall was Anna Caterina Antonacci sang two pieces by Poulenc: La Dame de Monte Carlo and La Voix Humaine accompanied by Donald Sulzen on the piano.
What connects these pieces written towards the end of Poulenc's life in 1961 and 1958 is that they are two unhappy or frustrated female narrators with a deeply uneasy relationship with modernity: in a sense the lady on the telephone hates it, its dislocation and disembodiment, but is glad to speak to her lover, technical problems notwithstanding. In La Dame, the postwar liberation offered in Monte Carlo’s casino has been pretty hollow given her financial losses. An orange telephone and a pile of letters made uneasy table-fellows for this semi-staging of La Voix. I had worried that this might be gimmicky and awkward when wheeled out, but it worked wonderfully to draw out the frustrations in the piece.

Vocally and musically, this was a hand-and-glove situation: Antonacci was superb, clear and powerful with stresses all in the right places; Donald Sulzen provided perfect accompaniment and just as both fitted the piece, the pieces fitted the acoustics of the Wigmore Hall.

The Concert was broadcast on R3 and is on iplayer.

No comments:

Post a Comment