Thursday 14 December 2017

Review: A memorable evening of high drama

Opera, Piotr Beczala, National Concert Hall

Piotr Beczala
Piotr Beczala

Pat O'Kelly

Only superlatives can describe Polish tenor Piotr Beczala's first visit to the RTÉ Concert Orchestra's significant 'Signature Series' at the National Concert Hall.

Enjoying international recognition, Beczala is in Dublin prior to appearances at Covent Garden and the Salzburg Festival.

A singer at ease with himself and his voice, Beczala's programme is mainly French and Italian but an aria by Moniuszko shows the Polish composer standing his ground in illustrious company.

The artist's unforced and ringing tone commands one's attention from the outset - Verdi's Di' tu se fedele (Ballo in maschera) - and retains it to the end - Puccini's E lucevan le stelle (Tosca).

Throughout, Beczala's wonderful breath control, built on superb technique, brings magical phrasing. But there is also thrilling power in the voice as well as marvellous quality over its extensive range. Solid at the top, it is no less sturdy at the bottom and excellently assured in between.

Romeo's L'amour! L'amour! Ah! Lève-toi (Gounod) is ardent and heroic through Beczala's expressive interpretation.

Lyrically flowing and tender, Don José's Flower Song (Bizet's Carmen) rises to a dramatic but poetic climax.

Rodrigue's O souverain (Massenet's Le Cid) highlights Beczala's confidence in simply producing thrilling sound while in another Massenet extract - Werther's Pourquoi me reveiller - he engages deeply emotional feeling.

The suicidal Edgardo (Donizetti's Lucia) has both depth and strength in Tombe degl'avio miei while the despairing Cavaradossi (Puccini's Tosca) is both haunting and exhilarating.

Under Russian conductor Guerassim Voronkov, the RTÉCO rises to the gala occasion with panache and élan. An evening to remember on all fronts.

Irish Independent

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