March 29, 2006
Angry song of the nightingale
Opera prima Laura Claycomb in Moscow took the highest notes
Olga Romantsova, “Novye Izvestia”
American singer made the whole strastyu.Foto: ITAR-TASS. ALEXANDER SAVERKIN
American Laura Claycomb, who 12 years ago won the Russian capital, the second prize in the Tchaikovsky came to us a second time. On Monday, before the performance in the Tchaikovsky Hall, the singer has carefully studied the program of performers here, Korean Sumi Jo and our Anna Netrebko and included in her repertoire very different works. Even a fragment of the finest roles of Gilda’s “Rigoletto” (Claycomb sang it with Dmitri Hvorostovsky), she deferred for encore.
Usually each singer has her own specialization. Those who perform Wagner, do not take for Baroque opera, and vice versa. There is a prima donna, just singing bel canto opera or exclusively contemporary music. Claycomb perfectly performs music of different styles – from Handel to Stravinsky and Bernstein. At the concert, sounded a lot of rare, long-not-performed works: Song of the Nightingale of the opera by Stravinsky, the Fire aria from the opera Ravel’s “L’Enfant et les Sortilêges,” Amina’s scene from Bellini’s opera “La Sonnambula.” The audience were in the thick of the creative process: the singer has included in concert fragments of roles that she has recently started working on, among them was the romance of Corinna from Rossini’s “Il Viaggio a Reims”. Claycomb coped brilliantly with all musical curiosities, in the first part of the twentieth century music sung in the second – Italian classics and took outrageous high notes so easily that it left the audience breathless.
Theodore Kurenzis, conducted the orchestra in the evening, cemented his reputation as a specialist in contemporary music, and behaved with gallantry: a solo dancer who then manifests itself in a solo, then “goes into the shadows”, carefully maintaining the ballerina. Vocal arias alternated with symphonic fragments. They ran Kurenzis’ orchestra in his usual expressive manner, moving at the control and vigorously waving his arms. But as soon as Claycomb got onstage, the conductor limited the sharpness of his gestures so as not to distract attention from the audience.
And he did it for a reason. The singer proved that in addition to the vocal talent, she also owns acting skill. And she can play anyone – from said Nightingale to mad Ophelia. Effect completed by the charm, femininity, beautiful figure and a shock of red curls that Claycomb had collected in a knot, then dissolved on the shoulders. She has twice changed the outfit, playing contemporary music in a light dress with a fluffy skirt and sequined bodice, and the classics of Italian – a brown dress with sparkles, stylized contemporary fashion of the early twentieth century.