This past Saturday night was the second in a series of three concerts of Beethoven and Mahler with the New York Philharmonic at Lincoln Center. The program consisted of Beethoven's second symphony in D major Op. 36, and Gustav Mahler's Des Knaben Wunderhorn. Both pieces were conducted by world renowned conductor Sir Colin Davis. The evening marked the 15,096th concert performed by the Philharmonic.
Being that this column has a main focus and emphasis on voice, it is the opinion of this examiner to only comment on the Mahler piece. Even though the Beethoven was quite enjoyable and conducted brilliantly by Sir Colin Davis. It was, however, slightly annoying to have the movements interrupted by applause each time. But that's live theatre for you.
Gustav Mahler wrote Des Knaben Wunderhorn over a period of almost a decade between 1892 and 1901. It had its last performance of the complete work with the Philharmonic nearly 12 years ago with Sir Colin at the helm and soloists Inger Dam-Jensen and Thomas Quasthoff at his side. This current production stars tenor Ian Bostridge and soprano Dorothea Röschmann. Mr. Bostridge is known for his light-lyric voice with its beautiful quality in long, sustained phrases. Unfortunately in this piece, these qualities were lacking. That is, until the final movement where he glittered. His interpretation was stunning throughout, but his voice is too sweet and tender to really capture the scope of a Mahler score. Though his efforts were quite valiant for being visibly ill on stage.
Theses concerts also mark Ms. Röschmann's debut with the Philharmonic. Her voice was warm with sparkling high notes that she pops out with the greatest of ease. She exhibited well rounded characters and had wonderful chemistry with her colleague during the duets. She was a joy to watch and listen to. Especially in Lob des hohen Verstandes where she convincingly invoked the sounds of a donkey and in Verlorne Müh. It is a safe bet that she will be back to sing with the New York Philharmonic sooner rather than later.
For more information about this and any upcoming concert with the New York Philharmonic, click here.