At the 22nd IVC Gala Concert of the Winners, the press once again noted that the (operatic) nature of the concluding Gala Concert of Winners posed some difficulties for participants who didn’t excel in that repertoire, such as… Maria Venuti.
A fine Liedersinger, Venuti chose to present herself not only with an aria from Haydn’s Die Schöpfung, but also with three songs by Debussy, with piano accompaniment. This was a clear reply to the previous criticism that Lieder singers could not be expected to sing opera, as had hitherto been the custom. Instead of welcoming the change, the press now judged that, ‘with such a program a singer like Venuti could never hope to achieve more than the success d’estime she now achieved.’ Even if Zomerdijk was right in his observation, the IVC organization would onwards prefer to have singers present themselves within their own specialty, even with piano accompaniment, rather than go back to the times where these singers drowned in anything from Mozart to Rossini or Verdi.
When we acknowledge that Zomerdijk was probably right in his observation, we also have to admit that previously the critics were equally right about Liedersingers not always being able to compete in opera. Clearly, an ideal solution was not at hand. This new approach to repertoire at the concluding concert was at least a solution that best reflected the talents of the winners, even if vocal power play and catchy opera aria’s were likely to maintain their advantage.
Zomerdijk once again noted that the acoustics of the hall in the Brabant Province House did not help matters, as was shown in the performance of West German baritone Heiner Eckels, who nonetheless distinguished himself in three songs, accompanied on the piano by Gérard van Blerk. Rosendo F. Dacal proved a bit ‘over aware’ of his good looks and the beauty of his voice for the taste of Zomerdijk, who had wished for a little more interpretative skills rather than just some beautiful singing. Countertenor Andrew Dalton there against did satisfy Zomerzijk’s ears, although the audience at the time had a hard time understanding this then very ‘odd’ voice. Surprisingly, given her impressive track record at the Bolshoï Moscow in the years to come, mezzo-soprano Nina Terentieva failed to impress Zomerdijk at the IVC Gala Concert. He preferred Marie Leferrière’s very musical rendition of Charlotte’s ‘Air des lettres’ from Massenet’s Werther.
Zomerdijk proved especially impressed by Patricia Price, who started out with two beautiful rendition of Richard Strauss ‘Allerseelen,’ and ‘Zueignung,’ only to surpass her own achievements in them after the break, in ‘Dido’s lament’ from Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. Along with the once again ‘touching’ performance of Alicja Swiatek-Matusik in ‘Si, mi chiamano Mimì’ from Puccini’s La bohème, Zomerdijk found enough to please him among the females.
The leader of the pack
Among the men, it was the Russian bass and Great Prize Winner Vladimir Pankratov who impressed Zomerdijk most:
‘A delightful bass baritone with a voice as an alarm bell and a unique theatrical instinct, such as one rarely encounters at competitions. His first aria, a Verdi piece, revealed his talents even if this wasn’t yet immaculately sung. His ‘La calunnia’ from Il barbiere di Siviglia there against, was divine, even if you have to fear that he will impose his personal stamp on such music at one point in terms of style, such as was the case with his Bach I the competition, which he tossed out with a decided edge of Rachmaninov in it. Regardless, this is the type of singer that we love, and loved he was in Den Bosch for sure!’ (Hein Zomerdijk, ‘Niveau slotconcert lager dan in finale,’ Brabants Dagblad, September 11, 1975)
Kuddos for André Rieu Sr.
Compliments also for conductor André Rieu Sr., who managed to let the Brabant Orchestra stand out, especially in the ‘Overture’ to Rossini’s La scala di seta. There he had gained control over the difficult acoustics. Zomerdijk’s colleague J.S., writing for De Bossche Omroep, fully agreed on Rieu’s achievement, and added that is was foremost a miracle that the conductor managed to get so much out of the orchestra, given the extremely short time to prepare for such a varied program. As for the singers, J.S. readily forgave them for minor flaws, since he understood all too well that post competition stress, they were a little less focused on the last detail, especially when they sang pieces in the concert that they had not prepared for the competition.
September 10, 1975
IVC Concluding Gala Concert, Bois le Duc Hall, Brabant Province House, Den Bosch
Brabants orkest – André Rieu Sr. (conductor)
|1||Mozart||Don Giovanni ‘Overture’|
|2||Christiane Baumann (s)||Mozart||
|3||Andrew Dalton (ct)||Händel||Rodelinda ‘Dove sei’|
|4||Maria Venuti||Haydn||Die Schöpfung ‘Nun beur die FLut’|
|5||Rosendo Dacal (t)||Weber||Der Freischütz ‘Durch die Wälder’|
|6||Patricia Price||Richard Strauss||‘Allerseelen’ *|
|7||Patricia Price||Richard Strauss||‘Zueignung’ *|
|8||Heiner Eckels (bt)||Brahms||‘Nicht mehr zu dir gehen’ *|
|8||Heiner Eckels (bt)||Wolf||‘Fussreise’ *|
|9||Maria Venuti (s)||Debussy||‘Romance’ **|
|10||Maria Venuti (s)||Debussy||‘Green’ **|
|11||Maria Venuti (s)||Debussy||‘Fantoches’ **|
|*Gérard van Blerk (piano)|
|**Rainer Weber (piano)|
|12||Rossini||La scala di seta ‘Overture’|
|13||Patricia Price (ms)||Purcell||Dido and Aneas ‘Dido’s lament’|
|14||Vladimir Pankratov (bs)||Verdi||Simon Boccanegra ‘A te l’estremo addio’|
|15||Nina Terentieva||Donizetti||La favorita ‘O mio Fernando’|
|16||Alicja Swiatek-Matusik (s)||Puccini||La bohème ‘Si, mi chiamano Mimì’|
|17||Marie Laferrière (ms)||Massenet||Werther ‘Air des lettres’|
|18||Vladimir Pankratov (bs)||Rossini||Il barbiere di Siviglia ‘La calunnia’|