Monday, 1 November 2010

A Voice from the Cold - Vivica Genaux

For thirteen months a documentary film crew based in Berlin filmed Vivica Genaux in various concert and private venues around the world. The icing on the cake was her January 1, 2004 recital in Fairbanks, Alaska marking a return to the city of her birth.

Entitled A Voice Out Of The Cold, the documentary opens with Vivica bundled up in winter clothing standing in the snow and waving a white cloth as she hails a passenger train that will take her home to Fairbanks. In the film, Vivica shares her memories of her growing up years in Fairbanks where she first showcased her vocal talent as Eliza Doolittle in her high school's production of My Fair Lady.

And she shares the music she has become famous for as well. The film shows footage with René Jacobs and the Akademie für alte Musik Berlin in rehearsal for a concert in Berlin in February 2003. She is also heard both in rehearsal and in a January 2004 recital with pianist Craig Rutenberg at the Charles W. Davis Concert Hall in Fairbanks. There is also film footage of a session in Venice with her coach Attilio Cremonesi.

A Voice out of the Cold - Part I/IV

A Voice out of the Cold - Part II/IV

A Voice out of the Cold - Part III/IV

A Voice out of the Cold - Part IV/IV

It was in 2004, with the release of Arias for Farinelli with René Jacobs and the Berlin Academy for Early Music, that the world discovered what Jacobs already knew, that Vivica Genaux, more than a singer, was a veritable phenomenon of Nature and Art. Here is Vivica herself on her introduction to Baroque music, from an interview with Opera Magazine:-

"Matthew Epstein, of Columbia Artists Management, advised me to sing some Hasse. Twelve years ago, I had absolutely no idea what that meant, but I thought, “Why not?” At the same moment, or nearly so, the Staatsoper unter den Linden in Berlin invited me to audition for René Jacobs, precisely for an opera by Hasse, Solimano. They sent me two arias, with which I immediately felt comfortable. René engaged me after the audition; that was the second time that happened, after L’Italiana in Algeri in Milwaukee! Solimano wasn’t exactly my first Baroque opera, since I took on, between the auditions and the Berlin performances, Handel’s Ariodante in Dallas. But that was with an orchestra playing modern instruments. I really understood the pleasure that one gets from performing this music during the rehearsals for Solimano, with the period instruments of the Concerto Köln. I had the same feeling of going from black-and-white to colour on a television screen! I still remember the first rehearsal: three hours of happiness! Working with René is like nothing else. You sense in him an energy and an enthusiasm that literally sweep you off your feet, that draw vocal colours and emotions from you that you never would have thought yourself capable of. I adore his conception of the Baroque, entirely focused on the drama, the theatre and the passions, without being mannered or bombastic, as in a certain Anglo-Saxon tradition."

On Pyrotechnics, her recording of Vivaldi arias with Fabio Biondi (see earlier post);-

"The program was suggested to me by Virgin Classics, with arias chosen by the musicologist Frédéric Delaméa. I’ve already recorded several times for this company, which always has very interesting projects. And then, I was accompanied by Fabio Biondi and Europa Galante… Collaborating with Fabio is as unique an experience as working with René Jacobs, probably because one started as a violinist, the other as a singer. The idea of this recording is to show how virtuosity, in Vivaldi, is never gratuitous. It’s constantly in the service of a dramatic context or an emotion that words alone can’t express, and this is equally true in the heroic singing and in the more gracious lines. I adore vocal pyrotechnics, and I know that’s what many people expect from me at first. But it takes more than that to make me happy! I need to challenge myself with other styles, that of L’Isola Disabitata and Il Mondo della Luna, for example, in this bicentennial of Haydn’s death. I always yearn to explore new territories. I believed for a long time, for example, that Mozart wasn’t for me, in so far as, in his work, the mezzos are often second sopranos. But now I feel ready for Cherubino or, why not? Sesto in La Clemenza di Tito."

Official Vivica Genaux website
Former official site at Opera Online
Fanfaire fan site (the only place where you can purchase the DVD of A Voice from the Cold)
Arias for Farinelli download links
Haendel/Hasse Arias download links

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