Ian Bostridge

Les Violons du Roy with Ian Bostridge

IanBostridge_05_Credit_SimonFowler  * Notes * 
Tenor Ian Bostridge (pictured left, photo by Simon Fowler) performed with Les Violons du Roy at Cal Performances yesterday in Berkeley. The performance was odd but certainly of interest. For one thing, the string players of Les Violons du Roy use Baroque bows on modern instruments. The effect was bizarre, given that the bowing technique did not strike me as particularly historically informed. The playing under Bernard Labadie was fairly legato, with clear dynamic contrasts, and a nice airiness. The brisk tempi of Geminiani's Concerto Grosso No. 12 in D minor was particularly dumbfounding.

Many of the pieces Bostridge sang were those that Händel wrote for three particular tenors: Francesco Borosini, Annibale Pio Fabri, and John Beard. His voice is light and pretty. Singing with the ensemble, some of his lower notes did not resonate as nicely has his high ones did. Bostridge showed very little strain in his singing, only a few notes of Vivaldi's "La tiranna" from Arsilda, Regina di Ponto were less than effortless. Bostridge is a somewhat awkward fellow, but this is disarming at times, as when he explained how he considered "From Celestial Seats Descending" the "sexiest music Händel ever wrote." Bostridge and Les Violons du Roy gave two encores, the first from Conti's Don Chisciotte in Sierra Morena, and the second from Boyce's Solomon.

* Tattling * 
Sadly, the orchestra level of Zellerbach Hall was only half full. I was seated in front of the wife of a prominent person at Cal Performances, who had the unfortunate habit of tapping her toes to some of the music. She was always on beat, but after intermission I took it upon myself to move up two rows, where I would not be directly in front of anyone.

Cal Performances' 2010-2011 Videos

Here are some of the videos from Cal Performances that were presented at the press conference for the 2010-2011 season. The first is of tenor Ian Bostridge speaking on Händel, the second on the Britten operas being presented, and the third of soprano Jessica Rivera and composer Mark Grey discussing Atash Sorushan. Subscriptions go on sale today at noon.

Official Site | Subscriptions

Cal Performances' 2010-2011 Season

September 24 2010: Bayanihan Philippine National Dance Company
September 26 2010: Fall Free for All: Open House at Cal Performances
September 30- October 3 2010: Mark Morris Dance Group
October 7-10 2010: Circus Oz
October 10 2010: David Finckel, cello & Wu Han, piano
October 14 2010: Alex Ross
October 15 2010: Jerusalem Quartet
October 22 2010: Gamelan Çudamani 
October 24 2010: Jeremy Denk, piano 
October 26-27 2010: Benjamin Bagby's Beowulf
October 29-30 2010: Hubbard Street Dance Chicago
October 31 2010: Kremerata Baltica
October 31 2010: Alfred Brendel
November 13-14 2010: Zenshinza Theatre Company
November 20 2010: Bryn Terfel, bass-baritone
November 5 2010: Buika
November 7 2010: Ensemble Zellig
November 21 2010: Will Shortz
November 26-28 2010: Mummenschanz 
December 4, 2010: Christian Tetzlaff, violin
December 5 2010: Pomegranates and Figs
December 5 2010: Takács Quartet
December 11 2010: John McLaughlin, guitar
December 12 2010: Nicolas Hodges, piano
January 21 2011: Tango Buenos Aires
January 22 2011: Joshua Redman, saxophone
January 23 2011: Wallace Shawn
January 26 2011: Jean-Yves Thibaudet, piano
February 3-4 2011: Kodo
February 9-10 2011: Ex Machina
February 12-13 2011: Zukerman ChamberPlayers
February 20 2011: Paul Lewis, piano
February 25-27 2011: Vienna Philharmonic
March 3-5 2011: Merce Cunningham Dance Company
March 4 2011: Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin
March 6 2011: Scharoun Ensemble Berlin
March 6 2011: Balé Folclórico da Bahia
March 11 2011: Branford Marsalis, saxophone & Terence Blanchard, trumpet
March 13 2011: Les Percussions de Strasbourg
March 13 2011: Jonas Kaufmann, tenor
March 18-19 2011: Nederlands Dans Theater
March 20 2011: Joyce Yang, piano
March 24-26 2011: Castleton Festival Opera
March 26-27 2011: The Tallis Scholars
March 29- April 3 2011: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
April 3 2011: Jessica Rivera, soprano
April 6 2011: The Silk Road Ensemble, with Yo-Yo Ma
April 19 2011: Afro-Cuban All Stars
April 23 2011: Kurt Elling, vocalist
April 28-29 2011: Cirque Éloize
May 1-3 2011: Les Violons du Roy
May 7-14 2011: Druid Theatre Company
May 31-June 4 2011: Royal Danish Ballet
June 13-16 2011: Ojai North!

Matías Tarnopolsky announced Cal Performances's 2010-2011 season at a press conference today. We were seated on the stage and the presentation involved several videos. Tarnopolsky seemed charmingly self-effacing, and at one point he said Schumann" instead of "Stockhausen," and made a joke about how they were easily confused for one another. The 2010-2011 Web site of Cal Performances goes live tonight at 12:01am.

Next season includes two Britten operas, The Rape of Lucretia and Albert Herring will be performed by Castleton Festival Opera in February 2011. Byrn Terfel and Jonas Kaufmann are both coming to Berkeley for their respective tours, Terfel in the Fall and Kaufmann in the Spring. Dawn Upshaw, the Maria Schneider Orchestra, The Australian Chamber Orchestra, and Peter Sellars are all involved in Ojai North!

Official Site | Press Release [PDF]

Ian Bostridge sings Winterreise

Ian-bostridge * Notes * 
Tenor Ian Bostridge is currently finishing a US recital tour with pianist Julius Drake. As part of this, Bostridge sang Schubert's Winterreise in Berkeley last Sunday, and it was clear he has a fine rapport with his accompanist. Both Bostridge and Drake were quite intent on the work at hand, rapt even, and there was an almost alarming intensity to their performance. Bostridge's evocative voice has heft and resonance throughout his range. One never doubted his commitment to both the Schubert's song cycle nor his translucent interpretation of it. Drake's dramatic playing was never dull, but he never failed to support the singer either.

* Tattling * 
One could not help notice that some ticket holders attending the Sunday matinée might have been put off by the seriousness of the performance, not to mention the lack of intermission. I was also surprised that an usher was assigned tickets in the middle of the row I was seated in, and she actually spoke during the music to try to get to her spot. The person at the end of the row refused to get up for her, and she was forced to take a more accessible empty seat.