Thursday, May 28, 2009

Michelle DeYoung Sings Berg

MTT conducts Schubert's Unfinished Symphony
San Francisco Symphony
Wed, May 27, 2009 7:00pm
Davies Symphony Hall

Michael Tilson Thomas

Michelle DeYoung

Rosamunde Overture

Seven Early Songs

Symphony No.8 in B minor, Unfinished

Three Pieces for Orchestra

I didn't understand the pairing of Schubert & Berg on this program, but I did want to hear Michelle DeYoung do the Seven Early Songs, especially as I recently missed out on Kožená's version. The Rosamunde Overture made for a light start. Ensemble was a bit loose, as was the general direction of the interpretation. There was nothing indecisive about DeYoung, however. She gave a big, brawny, operatic performance that made me immediately want to hear her sing Fricka. Her strong, substantial voice seems to come from someplace below her feet. She's also impressively tall, & looked like she was going to hit her head on the stage door when she exited.

The Unfinished felt held-back & flattened, but it was worth it to hear the even & controlled woodwind solos by Carey Bell (clarinet), William Bennett (oboe) & Tim Day (flute) in the 2nd movement. For some reason these principals were absent from the 1st half, & it made a big difference to hear them now.

By this time I thought we were going to get away without hearing MTT talk, but just before the final Three Pieces for Orchestra, he picked up a microphone & gave a lengthy & detailed synopsis of the work, as he did when the Symphony played it back in January. The performance was straight-forward & many orchestral details were admirably clear. MTT made the dance mood of the 2nd movement very apparent, & the final movement went swiftly.

I liked the early start time for this evening. It was still light out during the intermission, & we got out just before 9pm. This seems good for a weekday show.

There was quite a convocation of bloggers at the intermission, so this event should be well-documented. Besides the ubiquitous Opera Tattler, I saw The Ambassador & met Cedric of SFist. I was also pleased to finally meet The Civic Center, with camera around his neck, snapping pictures of the Tattler. I now know to look forward to seeing him shoot the tenor in Tosca next week.


Cedric said...

nice to meet you as well.

Axel Feldheim said...

Thanks! I've never seen so many classical music bloggers in one place before!