Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Saoû chante Mozart - Les Musiciens du Louvre Grenoble - Mozart la Nuit - 07/04/15

Conductor: Florian Cousin
Mozart: Serenade for Orchestra No. 6 in D Major, K. 239, Serenata notturna (Maestoso/ Minuetto Rondo)
Mozart: "Deh per questo istante solo" from La Clemenza di Tito
Claire Delgado-Boge: Soprano
Mozart: Divertimento in F Major, K. 138
Mozart: Ergo interest... Quaere superna, K. 143
Claire Delgado-Boge: Soprano
Mozart: "Al chiaror di que bei rai" from Ascanio in Alba
Claire Delgado-Boge: Soprano
Mozart: Eine kleine Nachtmusik, K. 525
Mozart: "L'ho perduta, me meschina" from Le Nozze di Figaro
Claire Delgado-Boge: Soprano

Since last year I did not enjoy any vacation abroad, I had figured that I'd make up for it this year by celebrating my double heritage with some live music. Therefore, my July 4th was spent in the Parc de la Baume, Dieulefit, Drôme provençale, France, where I attended the opening of the local "Saoû chante Mozart" festival with an all-Mozart concert by Les musiciens du Louvre Grenoble, which incidentally also provided me with a timely foretaste of the "Mostly Mozart" festival that will kick off in New York City at the end of July. After all, one can never hear too much Mozart.
My week of French vacation before the concert had been filled with many activities, among which stood out visits to family and friends, the eclectic collections of the stately musée des Beaux-Arts and the ultra-modern musée des Confluences in my native Lyon, Provence’s natural visual feasts with the Sénanque Abbey and its lavender fields, the brightly colored, hill-perched village of Roussillon and its ochre queries, as well as the Renaissance-focused sound and vision show in the blissfully refreshing "Carrières de lumières" in Les-Baux-de-Provence. The highlight, however, had to be seamlessly channeling Paul Cézanne as I was finally getting around to hiking up (and down) his beloved Mont Sainte-Victoire to the Croix de Provence. In short, I was more than ready for some guilt-free dolce far niente with loads of sleep, food, drinks and music.
So there I was, sitting between my mom and stepdad, with a few friends nearby, waiting for some live music as the sun was slowly setting behind the huge trees of the beautiful park. Although it would be amplified, we quickly realized that the music would still have to compete with some seriously assertive crickets and the occasional happy screams from kids having fun in the nearby public pool. But our concert champêtre sounded simply too promising to start nit-picking.

The Serenade for Orchestra No. 6 in D Major is a serenata notturna that was originally conceived for nighttime. On Saturday evening, its first two movements were performed way before night fell, but its grand opening and subsequent lightly elegant lines were much appreciated just the same. In order to prove that while the music playing was of a remarkable caliber, we were also in for some irreverent summery fun, the reduced orchestra had some of its musicians come up with short solos, including a quick excerpt of La Marseillaise by the first violin (So much for the American national holiday).
The next instrumental work was Divertimento in F Major, K 138, whose complexity did not prevent from sparkling with wit and sophistication under the committed conducting of the young maestro Florian Cousin.
Lo and behold, Mozart’s ever-popular "Eine kleine Nachtmusik" had never been performed at the festival previously. This injustice, however, was quickly fixed on Saturday evening as it received a royal – and brisk – treatment from the fired-up orchestra as if to make up for lost time.
But the concert was not all about instruments, but about the voice as well. Accordingly, soprano Claire Delgado-Boge had been invited to sing a couple of opera arias and beautifully accomplished her mission. From Sesto’s guilt-ridden "Deh per questo istante solo" from La Clemenza di Tito to Venus’ lovely "Al chiaror di que bei rai" from Ascanio in Alba to Barbarina’s deliciously tragic/comic "L'ho perduta, me meschina" of Le Nozze di Figaro, she had total control over her highly melodic voice and was a true delight to listen to.

No encores were planned, but heeding our enthusiastic ovation, the orchestra happily threw themselves into another – more typical – rendition of the first movement of "Eine kleine Nachtmusik", just because you cannot go wrong with that.

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