05 June, 2019

MET Orchestra - Yannick Nezet-Sequin - Isabelle Leonard

Isabel Leonard performed with Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Met Orchestra Monday night at Carnegie Hall. Photo: Richard Termine pic from newyorkclassicalreview.

MET Orchestra - Yannick Nezet-Sequin - Isabelle Leonard

June 3, 2019, Carnegie Hall
MET Orchestra - Yannick Nezet-Sequin - Isabelle Leonard
Debussy - Dutilleux - Ravel

Two Song Cycles sung by mezzo Isabel Leonard, who is apparently very popular with the NY audience, bookended the intermission. We heard first Dutilleux's Le Temps L'Horloge, crafted with the composers usual scintillating palate. The flight of imagination of the poems in French at their relatively fast tempi is demanding for the singer, and here just too many syllables were dropped (a usual and perhaps necessary practice for singing French) for me. The voice is not particularly big and one often misses something at the top or bottom when it comes to mezzi, as was the case here. Unlike the Dutilleux, Leonard sang Ravel's Scheherazade without score, and the difference showed - a better command of the words and more fluidity, which of course is equally attributable to Ravel's jewel of an orchestration, which also lets the singer rest more.

Concert opened with Debussy's La Mer. The MET Orchestra's rendition of color, nuance and detail was superlative, as it has been, as evidenced from the last concert, but the difference here was the much greater control Nezet-Sequin was able to achieve. Coloristically, it was irreproachable, and the climatic perorations were uncommonly lucid, say, symphonic in its approach. Ditto Ravel's Daphne and Chloe Suite No. 2, which closed the program. However, in both pieces (particularly the Ravel), no matter how spectacular the playing, I missed a sense of pushing and pulling, of coiled tension, that I know is there.

It is particularly difficult to capture the essence of French music. The MET orchestra did a sterling job. This kind of program would never work for the HKPO.


No comments:

Post a Comment