Monday, January 28, was a night of celebration in the Terrace Theater at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. The National Alliance for Hispanic Health commemorated its 40th Anniversary with the presentation of four VIDA Awards followed by a concert offered by Spaniard mezzo-soprano María José Montiel, a selection of standard repertoire songs and arias, as well as Spanish, Latin American and American compositions.
María José Montiel recently completed a successful run as 'Carmen' with the Atlanta Opera, a role for which she has been receiving the highest of praises worldwide. In her prolific and long-lasting career, she has been heard in the most prestigious concert halls and theaters across the globe, including Carnegie Hall in New York, La Scala in Milan, Staatsoper in Vienna, NHK Hall in Tokyo, Staatsoper Bern, Warsaw Philharmonic Concert Hall and Opera House, Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires, and Paris Opéra National among many others; and in most opera houses and concert halls in Spain.
Beyond a night of magical moments, it was truly a magical night where the magenta velvet overtones of María José Montiel's sweet and powerful voice enveloped all with its warmth, each note exquisite in sound and performed exquisitely as a Strad cello in the hands of the most gifted of artists.
The dance between singer and pianist, Miquel Estelrich Serralta, created a world of finely threaded notes brought to life with mute conversations, pianissimi, crescendi, and textured fortissimi birthed with absolute smoothness and seemingly endless breath. Singer and pianist danced both sharing one heart, in tune with each other, where not a glance was necessary and the only words uttered were sounded by the spellbinding music and artistry of María José Montiel.
There was no resisting her seduction as she slowly drew you in, note by note, phrase by phrase, song after song. And, suddenly, it was only you, she and the music. Everything else vanished, darkened away as the world, and time and place within it, were forever suspended. María José Montiel gave herself completely to the music. And, as she made you hers, you surrendered with abandonment and without thought, pearls of salt covering your face, the music and the voice ripping your soul open and drowning it in ecstasy.
'Mon cœur s'ouvre à ta voix,' sung María José Montiel in the beautiful aria composed by Camille Saint-Saëns for his opera 'Samson et Dalila.' But it was the hearts of a captivated audience that opened to receive this gift, a midst endless applause, shouting 'bravo's' through out a night that ended in an explosive standing ovation.
It was inspired artistry, one of those special and unique moments that survives ever present and alive, eternal, and timeless...Brava! Maja with the magenta velvet voice!