* Notes *
Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra just completed a run of performances with mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux (pictured left, photograph by Christian Steiner) last weekend in Berkeley. The ensemble, conducted by Nicholas McGegan, started Sunday evening's performance with Johann Friedrich Fasch's Concerto for Two Flutes, Two Oboes, and Two Bassoons in D minor. The orchestra lilted, but aforementioned woodwinds were somewhat squeaky at times. Genaux joined the musicians for three Vivaldi arias: "Cor mio che sei" from Atenaide, "Sin nel placido soggiorno" from La fede tradita, and "Alma oppressa" from La fida ninfa. The playing was clean and spirited. Genaux was obviously listening to the orchestra, and seemed quite genial. Her sound is precise, warm, and clear. Before intermission we heard the charming Concerto in D major, TWV 44:1 "Sinfonia Spirituosa" by Telemann. The playing was light and sweet. Genaux returned to the stage for Porpora's "Or la nube procellosa" from Artaserse and "Oh volesser gli Dei...Dolci, freschi aurette" from Polifemo. These arias, along with the following "Qual guerriero in campo armato" from Broschi's Idaspe, were written for Farinelli. Genaux breathing was audible but not distracting, her breath well supported. The overall effect was altogether lovely. Genaux's encore was "Agitata da due venti" from Vivaldi's Griselda. She explained that "due venti" also means "220," as in the voltage formerly used in Italy. The evening ended with Ramaeu"s Orchestral suite from La Guirlande, which featured the percussionist on bells, drum, triangle, and tambourine.
* Tattling *
Executive Director of PBO, Peter Pastreich, asked us to turn off our cellular phones before the performance, as they are not period instruments. Perhaps he was inspired by the phone that rang during Jarrousky's concert earlier in the day, which Pastreich also attended. In any case, no electronic noise was noted here.