On the evening of March 27, 2013, New York audiences witnessed a rare night of Russian songs sung by an authentic Russian singer. The bill had but two composers to speak of, Sergei Rachmaninoff and Georgy Sviridov, yet two was more than enough to show off the range and versatility of the supreme artestry our singer possessed. His name was Dmitri Hvorostovsky and his wonderful pianist was Ivari Ilja who hailed from Estonia.
Dmitri Hvorostovsky came to Carnegie Hall fresh from his staring role in Don Carlo at the Met. He is world-famous for his shinning silver hair and bubbly personality. Both of which were on full display for New York.
Mr. Hvorostosky wowed the audience even before he began his recital. The black shimmering lapel on his jacket was flashy and daring, but set the character perfectly for the songs that he was to sing.
Beginning with Rachmaninoff, Mr. Hvorostovky displayed a smooth, sultry tone in “Utro, Op. 4, No. 2” or “Morning.” As he sings, he shows his technique of opening the gestation tubes by holding his nose and blowing outward, but we allow him to do whatever it takes to produce such a gorgeous sound. In “At the gates of the holy cloister” he was able to show off his more terrifying side as the dissonance in the music complimented his balance with beauty and grit in his voice. Flashing us his pearly whites after most every song, of course.
He was at his most poetic in “How nice this place is,” which was followed immediately by his darkest piece “The raising of Lazarus.” It was as if he was singing straight into the very depths of your soul as his voice boomed out into the house. I believe they were right to keep the lid of the piano slightly ajar instead of fully open. That way the muffled warmth of the piano fit the mood of Mr. Hvorostovsky’s voice like a hand to a tailored glove.
His sense of control over his voice was never more prevelent than in “A Voice from the Chorus,” by Georgy Sviridov, where near the end, he soars up to a high note, holds it, then flows downward with ease and grace.
The poetry flowed so easily from his total being that an English audience need not be afraid of the language barrier. The song choices were also so expressive themselves that all one need do was listen to the music and watch this artist do his job.
And that audience responded accordingly.
Accepting each song in the first act with great applause (gesture we were asked to refrain from before the beginning of the second act). Though some still could not help themselves, and this examiner does not blame them.
The last three songs in the second act was really where we felt his Mother Russian come through in song. The evening was capped off perfectly with “Petersburg Song” (which was the only piece set in a major key), “Those born in obscure years” (where he darkened his voice for added drama with great effect), and the deeply haunting “The Virgin in the City.”
He was even greeted with a bouquet of flowers from a fan, and posed for a picture for her young daughter. Thus proving his love for his fans. A love that was shared from both sides of the footlights.
As an added bonus, Mr. Hvorostovky continued that love with 4 encores; something this examiner has never seen done before.
For more information about Dmitri Hvorostovky, click here.
For more information about Ivari Ilja, click here.
For more information about Carnegie Hall, click here.