26 April 2006

Olga Borodina, Ildar Abdrazakov, Dmitri Yefimov - Carnegie Hall, 25 April, 2006

This is not a joke, and yes, you're tuned to the correct channel. For the time being, indie rock begone...we gonna get our opera on! Now, you'll never hear me claiming to know tons about certain styles of music but I really do love a very broad spectrum and I intend for EAR FARM to reflect that fact. Sure, I've touched on jazz before (HERE and HERE) but I hope to continue broadening the music featured on this site as much as possible while still maintaining a solid focus on the music that takes up most of my time.

Lately, I've found myself more than slightly in love with classical music and opera so it should come as no surprise that I jumped at the opportunity to go see Olga Borodina at Carnegie Hall for free. That's right, and it was my first time ever seeing ANYthing at Carnegie Hall...happy me, happy me.

If you don't know who Olga Borodina is, don't worry. I didn't either before I got those tickets and started to do a little research. Come to find out, she's been known as one of the greatest mezzo-sopranos in the world for over a decade. Last night's performance was to be...

"The rich world of Russian opera and art song (or romance, as it is called in Russia)...a combination of a few familiar works (such as Marfa’s Divination from the second scene of Mussorgsky’s Khovanshchina) and many obscure ones (such as romances by Cui, Rimsky-Korsakov, Borodin, and Balakire; Glinka’s duet; or an aria from Rimsky-Korsakov’s Sadko)."
All obscure to me, but of no matter as I was there just to immerse myself in music. The program was split in two: before the intermission was a series of quiet (and shorter) love songs, after the intermission came songs from Russian operas, and for the encore, a few of opera's greatest hits. Olga first sang five songs before giving way to her husband, bass singer Ildar Abdrazakov. This first part of the performance, before the intermission, was my favorite. The songs were so quietly full of desperation and love and the lyrics truly beautiful. Yes, it was all sung in Russian, but they (thankfully) provided us with full translation in the program. The singers then alternated songs as the night moved into selections from operas, the entire time accompanied wonderfully by pianist Dmitri Yefimov. My favorite single performance of the evening came during the second half of the show when Olga sang Marfa's Divination from Mussorgsky's Khovanshchina which featured fantastic skill and touch on piano from Dmitri and downright explosive passion in Olga's vocals. I'm no opera critic but the phrasing and emotive nature of her vocals, throughout the night, were breathtaking.

Is it fair to say that Carnegie Hall puts all other concert venues I've been to to shame? Is it fair to even compare the venue and musicians I saw last night with those I'm more accustomed to seeing in rock clubs downtown? Hell no. Different worlds all together, which is what made last night such an enjoyable experience. Perhaps tonight more rock and roll and then on Thursday more classical? Perhaps. The self-inflicted music education continues...

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