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CHAN 3093
Diana Montague at the
recording sessions
3:30 pm
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Bill Cooper
CHAN 3093 BOOK.qxd
Diana Montague
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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791)
from The Marriage of Figaro
Cherubino’s Aria (Non so più)
‘Is it pain, is it pleasure that fills me’
‘Send me, but, my beloved’
6:39 [p. 44]
‘Farewell, beloved homeland’ –
‘No hope remains in my affliction’
Dorabella’s Recitative and Aria (Smanie implacabili)
4:56 [p. 45]
with Geoffrey Mitchell Choir
‘Ah! Leave me now’ –
‘Torture and agony’
3:39 [p. 46]
Dorabella and Fiordiligi’s Duet (Prenderò quel brunettino)
Iphigenia’s Aria (Je t’implore et je tremble)
‘I implore thee and tremble’
‘I will take the handsome, dark one’
3:07 [p. 46]
with Orla Boylan soprano
3:36 [p. 45]
George Frideric Handel (1685 –1759)
from Alcina
Ruggiero’s aria (Verdi prati)
from Così fan tutte
Fiordiligi, Dorabella and Don Alfonso’s Trio (Soave sia il vento)
‘Blow gently, you breezes’
3:33 [p. 46]
with Orla Boylan soprano • Alan Opie baritone
from Iphigenia in Tauris
Priestesses’ Chorus and Iphigenia’s Aria (O malheureuse Iphigénie!)
2:05 [p. 46]
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Christoph Willibald von Gluck (1714–1787)
‘Noble forests, sombre and shady’
Alastair Young harpsichord • Susanne Beer cello
3:07 [p. 44]
from The Clemency of Titus
Sextus’s Aria (Parto, parto)
from Atalanta
Meleagro’s aria (Care selve)
Concert Arias
‘Banished, rejected, God save me!’
4:50 [p. 47]
(Vado, ma dove?)
‘Verdant pastures, leafy woodlands’
4:18 [p. 45]
‘Who knows what feeling’
3:16 [p. 47]
(Chi sa qual sia)
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‘My heart here I give you’
from Faust
Siébel’s Romance (Si le bonheur à sourire t’invite)
4:39 [p. 47]
with Alan Opie baritone
5:46 [p. 48]
(formerly attrib. J.S. Bach)
(Bist du bei mir)
from Prince Igor
Song of the Polovtsian Maiden
5:57 [p. 50]
with Geoffrey Mitchell Choir
‘If you are near’
2:54 [p. 53]
Alastair Young harpsichord • Susanne Beer cello
TT 75:01
Diana Montague mezzo-soprano
Geoffrey Mitchell Choir
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Johann Strauss II (1825 –1899)
from Die Fledermaus (The Bat)
Orlofsky’s Aria (Chacun à son goût)
6:55 [p. 52]
Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel (1690–1749)
Alexander Borodin (1833 –1887)
‘Tender flower, starved of water’
‘Calm down, my friend!’ –
‘Just as the sun awakens’
with Bruce Ford tenor
with Helen Williams soprano
2:49 [p. 51]
from The Merry Widow
Valencienne and Camille’s Duet (Wie eine Rosenknospe)
from The Opera Ball
Henri and Hortense’s Duet (Gehen wir ins Chambre séparée)
‘This is the clock’ –
‘In a cosy chambre séparée’
‘When happy days’
Philharmonia Orchestra • David Parry
Richard Heuberger (1850 –1914)
‘Three score and ten’
2:46 [p. 51]
Peter Schoeman leader
Walter Weller
Charles Gounod (1818–1893)
from Così fan tutte
Guglielmo and Dorabella’s Duet (Il core vi dono)
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Great Operatic Arias
The term Zwischenfach (between types) is used
in Germany and elsewhere graphically to
describe the kind of voice possessed by Diana
Montague. For voices such as hers the
possibilities are almost limitless as this varied
and eclectic recital confirms. She possesses a
high mezzo able, as was that of a distant
nineteenth-century predecessor, Pauline
Viardot, and others since, to encompass roles
intended for a normal mezzo, but also many
others usually the province of sopranos. These
possibilities extend right from roles in Baroque
opera to those in operetta – as this disc vividly
and satisfactorily illustrates, as does the progress
of her career.
As was the case in the first volume of arias she
recorded for Chandos (CHAN 3010), Montague
is also a most convincing advocate of opera in
English. She deploys her trim, appealing voice to
make the most of a text in the vernacular,
inflecting every word and phrase with a specific
meaning. She also has the inestimable advantage
of being born with and developed a timbre that
palpitates with the music in hand. That gives
everything she sings a peculiarly eloquent or,
where appropriate, witty accent.
For much of this recital she displays her
exceptional gifts as an interpreter of Handel,
Gluck and Mozart. Their operas cover the
period when at first the castrato was in the
ascendant, taking many of the leading male
roles in Handel’s operas. Later when that
artificially created breed was being phased out
it became common for the roles of young men
to be taken by women, again with voices of
Montague’s type. It is a tradition that carried
on into the nineteenth and twentieth
centuries, eg Octavian and the Composer in
respectively Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier
and Ariadne on Naxos, and is demonstrated in
this recital by Orlofsky in the other Strauss’s
Die Fledermaus and by Siébel in Faust.
The earliest among the choices here are two
well-known and affecting arias from Handel’s
operas, both originally sung by castratos.
‘Verdant pastures’ (track 5 ) is sung in Alcina,
by Ruggiero, originally taken by the castrato
Carestini. He has been enchanted by the
sorceress Alcina and fallen in love with her.
The spell is removed in Act II, but Ruggiero is
rather reluctant to leave the glorious pastures
which he hymns in this justly famous aria.
progression unique to Gluck. In the later
‘I implore thee and tremble’ (track 4 ) from
Act IV she deplores her fate at being forced to
make a blood sacrifice in tones that capture in a
peculiarly Gluckian way the horror of her
situation. In both pieces Gluck evinces deep
compassion for his heroine, an emotion
reflected in Montague’s singing of them.
In Mozart’s time, the castrato was
(mercifully) a dying breed, although the
composer still cast roles in his opera seria for
that voice (see below). In any case, it would
have seemed odd to cast the priapic youth
Cherubino (The Marriage of Figaro) with
such a singer. Instead, Mozart chose a soprano,
but the lighter singers in that category can
sound too girlish. Montague’s high mezzo, on
the other hand, is entirely appropriate for the
palpitating youth, whose realisation of his
burgeoning manhood is perfectly encapsulated
in his Act I aria, ‘Is it pain, is it pleasure that
fills me’ (track 1 ). Mozart here exploits the
ability of the middle range of the voice to
project the warmth and immediacy of
Cherubino’s feelings. This was one of
Montague’s earliest roles in her successful
career at Covent Garden. She looked and sang
the role to near-perfection, so this souvenir of
that performance is most welcome.
Its seemingly simple melody clothes his
ambivalent feelings.
It was often Handel’s custom to open an
opera with a reflective arioso (vide ‘Ombra mai
fu’ in Xerxes). The same happens in Atalanta,
where the hero Meleagro sings the simple,
elegiac ‘Noble forests’ (track 6 ), in which he
greets the beauties of nature. As a pendant to
these Handel pieces, we have the simple,
sincere song ‘If you are near’ (track 18 ), once
thought to be by J.S. Bach, now assigned to his
contemporary Stölzel. Whoever may be the
composer, the piece is a delight.
Gluck’s Iphigenia in Tauris is perhaps the
most telling and dramatically consistent operas
of his mature period, the last and greatest of the
serious works he wrote for Paris. Its eponymous
heroine is a truly tragic figure whose fate is
expressed – such is Gluck’s genius – at once
with classical restraint and emotional depth.
Diana Montague has already recorded the opera
complete in French under John Eliot Gardiner.
Here, singing in her native tongue, she is, if
possible, even more moving and urgent in her
portrayal of the daughter of Agamemnon, now
a Priestess of Diana on the island of Tauris.
Her Act II lament, ‘No hope remains in my
affliction’ (track 3 ), is an outpouring of despair
and loneliness with a melodic cut and harmonic
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Although Dorabella in Così fan tutte is a
very different kind of character from
Cherubino, the voice range for the two is
much the same and, in the same way, it has
been cast over the years with both sopranos
and mezzos. In any case in Mozart’s times,
these stark differences between types hardly
existed. Once again, Montague’s voice seems
the ideal answer, poised between the two.
We hear her first in the mock-heroics of
‘Torture and agony’ (track 8 ) in which
Mozart makes one of his impressionable
heroines rail against the fate that has
supposedly taken her loved one from her.
Indeed this outburst of seemingly sincere
passion is almost Gluckian in its force.
Next we catch Dorabella, with her sister
Fiordiligi, singing the matchless trio of farewell
in the company of cynical old Don Alfonso,
‘Blow gently, you breezes’ (track 7 ). As is
Mozart’s way, especially in this work, he makes
a moment of repose and thought timelessly
beautiful, even though a character, such as
Alfonso here, may be having very different
In Act II, Fiordiligi, the more steadfast of
the sisters, and Dorabella – having decided to
have a fling with their ‘new’ men – sing a
delightful duet in which each makes her
choice, ‘I will take the handsome, dark one’
(track 9 ). Its intertwining of the two voices is
truly sisterly in character.
In the duet, ‘My heart here I give you’
(track 12 ), as in the trio above, Dorabella’s
fresh love is genuinely expressed, yet we also
feel that Guglielmo, in spite of himself, is
falling in love with the ‘wrong’ woman, the
music is so seductively beguiling. That is
Mozart’s genius. Alan Opie, who has sung
both Guglielmo and Alfonso for English
National Opera, easily encompasses both roles
in these excerpts and Orla Boylan has just the
right voice for Fiordiligi.
In his final opera, The Clemency of Titus,
Mozart again wrote, as I have already inferred,
a role for a castrato, the part of Sextus, where
the vulnerable young man is entirely in thrall
to Vitellia. Peaked that Emperor Titus has not
chosen her as his Empress, she persuades
Sextus to go and murder his best friend, Titus.
All Sextus’s contrary feelings are expounded in
the extended, two-part aria, ‘Send me, but, my
beloved, never reject me in anger’ (track 2 ).
In it Mozart gives us the character of the
upright, perplexed young man. Again this is
a role that can be distributed to either a
soprano or mezzo, its tessitura lying between
the two.
In addition to his operas, Mozart wrote
extensively for the solo voice in arias with
orchestra of which we have two excellent
examples here. They are particularly
appropriate to Montague as both were written
for Louise Villeneuve, the first Dorabella, for
insertion in Vicente Martin’s Il burbero di buon
cuore, an opera to a text by Da Ponte, based
on a Goldoni play. They stand side by side in
the Köchel catalogue as K. 582 and 583. The
latter and much more substantial is ‘Banished,
rejected’ (track 10 ), written in Mozart’s most
high-flown, deeply felt manner. The other,
‘Who knows what feeling’ (track 11 ), is a
slight but charming piece.
A hundred years or so later we find
ourselves in an entirely different world, that of
native Russian opera as represented by
Borodin’s Prince Igor. In the opening scene of
Act II, a group of Polovtsian maidens sings a
langourous song, ‘Tender flower, starved of
water’ (track 14 ), before their mistress,
Konchakovna, daughter of Khan Konchak, the
benevolent ruler who has taken Igor prisoner.
The music, with its quasi-Oriental colour and
feeling, provides a moment of repose in a tense
drama. Borodin was skilled in marrying what
he had learnt from Western music with more
local influences. Faust, a work from the same
era, is much more urbane and Western in its
musical character, as is shown in Siébel’s
charming song ‘When happy days’ (track 16 ).
Faust’s rival for Marguerite’s hand, he is
doomed to failure.
Meanwhile in Vienna much had changed in
terms of ethos and musical character since
Mozart’s time. Operetta was now all the rage.
In his highly successful 1874 operetta, Die
Fledermaus (The Bat), Johann Strauss was
not-so-gently mocking the bourgeois society of
the day in the Austrian capital. At the heart of
the piece is the party given at the palace of
Prince Orlofsky, a blasé youth who is bored
with life and seeking to be amused. In his
couplets near the start of Act II he declares his
philosophy -- he wants everyone to drink with
him and entertain him (‘Chacun à son goût’,
track 15 ). Strauss caught his character
perfectly in a song that marries nonchalance
and cynicism with a degree of gaucherie.
Written for a mezzo it isn’t easy to sing. Much
of it lies in a low register, but it also has
repeated A flats. The kind of voice possessed
by Montague is ideal for overcoming its
Richard Heuberger proved one of Strauss’s
more successful followers with his Opera Ball
first given in Vienna in 1898. Far and away
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its most successful number is ‘In a cosy
chambre séparée’, (track 13 ), where the lovers
Henri and Hortense meet for the first time in
a theatre. He leads her into the chambre
séparée, one of the theatre’s boxes set aside
as a private room. He woos her in one of
the most delectably seductive songs in all
Even more successful in 1905 was Lehár’s
Merry Widow. Its lyrical high point is the
duet in Act II between the French aristocrat
Camille de Rosillon and Valencienne, who is
in fact wife of Baron Mirko, the Pontevedrin
envoy in Paris. The illicit affair culminates in
this piece, ‘Just as the sun awakens’ (track 17 ).
Valencienne begs Camille to desist from his
ardent advances, but finally, to the kind of
perfumed, erotically suggestive music of
which the composer was pastmaster (‘See
where the summer-house awaits’), she agrees
to one last kiss in the summerhouse, which
leads to all sorts of plot complications.
Valencienne is another of those roles that lies
between voice types, having been taken by
both sopranos and high mezzos. Montague is
here partnered by Bruce Ford’s elegantly
persuasive tenor.
Diana Montague
was born in
Winchester and
studied at the
Royal Northern
College of Music.
Since her debut as
Zerlina with
Touring Opera
she has appeared
in venues such as
the Royal Opera
House, Covent Garden, the Metropolitan
Opera in New York, the Théâtre de la
Monnaie in Brussels, the Opéra national de
Paris-Bastille, Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires
and the Bayreuth and Salzburg Festivals.
Her repertoire includes the major roles for
mezzo-soprano in operas by Mozart, Gluck,
Strauss, Rossini, Bellini and Berlioz, and her
frequent concert engagements include
performances under Sir Georg Solti, James
Levine, Riccardo Muti, Sir John Eliot
Gardiner, Seiji Ozawa, Jeffrey Tate and Sir
Andrew Davis. Engagements have included
Iphigénie en Tauride in Buenos Aires, Madrid
and with Welsh National Opera; Le Comte Ory
in Lausanne, Rome and Glyndebourne;
© 2003 Alan Blyth
Andromaca in Rossini’s Ermione at
Glyndebourne; Proserpina in Monteverdi’s
Orfeo in Amsterdam; Il ritorno d’Ulisse in
patria in Amsterdam and Sydney; Sesto in
Madrid; the Composer (Ariadne auf Naxos) for
Scottish Opera and in Lisbon; Meg Page
(Falstaff ) for the reopening of the Royal Opera
House Covent Garden; Octavian (Der
Rosenkavalier) in Naples, Bilbao and at The
Teatro Real in Madrid, and Marguerite in
Diana Montague’s many recordings include
Monteverdi’s Orfeo, I Capuleti e i Montecchi,
Norma, Lucia di Lammermoor, Iphigénie en
Tauride, for Opera Rara Rosmonda
d’Inghilterra, Zoraida di Granata and Il crociato
in Egitto, and, for Chandos/Peter Moores
Foundation, Cavalleria rusticana, Octavian in
Der Rosenkavalier (highlights), Faust, and a
previous disc of Great Operatic Arias
(CHAN 3010).
of the Allgemeine
Basel, General Music
Director of the Basel
Theatre and Chief
Conductor of the
Basel Symphony
Orchestra from
September 1994
until July 1997,
Principal Conductor
of the Royal
Philharmonic Orchestra from 1980 to 1985,
and Music Director and Artistic Director to
the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic from 1977
to 1980. At the age of twenty-one he was
appointed leader of the Vienna Philharmonic
Orchestra, an orchestra he went on to
He is regularly invited as guest conductor
by major orchestras throughout the world and
has worked with the London Symphony
Orchestra, London Philharmonic,
Philharmonia Orchestra, Dresden
Staatskapelle, RSO Berlin, Leipzig
Gewandhaus, Philharmonie Hamburg, Israel
Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris,
Orchestre national de France, Orchestra del
Teatro alla Scala Milan, Royal Concertgebouw
Walter Weller was Music Director and
Principal Conductor of the Royal Scottish
National Orchestra between January 1992 and
July 1997 and is now Conductor Emeritus.
He also holds the title of Artistic Advisor and
Principal Guest Conductor of the National
Orchestra of Spain. He was Artistic Director
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Orchestra, Radio Philharmonic Orchestra
Holland, Tonhalle Zürich, Orchestre de la
Suisse Romande, Swedish Radio, Stockholm
Philharmonic, Oslo Philharmonic and
Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestras. In North
America, he has worked with such orchestras
as the New York Philharmonic, Minnesota,
San Francisco, Houston, Pittsburgh, Detroit,
Cincinnati and Toronto Symphony
Orchestras, and the National Arts Centre
Orchestra, Ottawa.
Operatic engagements have included Der
fliegende Holländer at La Scala, Ariadne on
Naxos and The Flying Dutchman for English
National Opera, Der Freischütz at Teatro
Comunale, Bologna, Prince Igor for Berlin
Staatskapelle, and Fidelio and Der Rosenkavalier
for Scottish Opera. He has also undertaken
concert performances at the Tivoli Festival. In
his opening season with Basel, he conducted a
highly successful production of Die Frau ohne
Schatten. Other operas in concert have
included Fidelio with the City of Birmingham
Symphony Orchestra, Elektra and Der fliegende
Holländer with the Royal Scottish National
Orchestra, and Eugene Onegin in Copenhagen.
Recordings include cycles of the Prokofiev
and Rachmaninov Symphonies, Bartók’s
Concerto for Orchestra, Janáček’s Lachian
Dances, Rachmaninov’s Symphony No. 1
Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4, for Chandos the
Beethoven Symphonies and piano concertos
(with John Lill) and the Mendelssohn
symphonies, and for Chandos/Peter Moores
Foundation a disc of Viennese Operetta with
Bruce Ford.
Javier del Real
CHAN 3093 BOOK.qxd
Diana Montague as Octavian
in the Teatro Real production
of Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier
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Clive Barda
CHAN 3093 BOOK.qxd
Diana Montague (right) as
Dorabella in San Francisco Opera’s
production of Mozart’s
Così fan tutte
Diana Montague as Cherubino
in The Royal Opera’s
production of Mozart’s The
Marriage of Figaro
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Bill Cooper/PMF
CHAN 3093 BOOK.qxd
Sir Peter Moores was born in Lancashire and educated at Eton College
and Christ Church, Oxford, where he studied Italian and German. He
had a ‘gap year’ at Glyndebourne working as a behind-the-scenes
administrator before going to Oxford, then studied for three years at the
Vienna Academy of Music, where he produced the Austrian premiere of
Benjamin Britten's The Rape of Lucretia and was a production assistant
with the Vienna State Opera working as assistant producer of
performances by Viennese artists at the San Carlo Opera House, Naples,
at the Geneva Festival and at the Rome Opera.
In 1957 he joined his father’s business, Littlewoods, becoming
Vice-Chairman in 1976, Chairman from 1977 to 1980 and remaining a
director until 1993. His public appointments include from 1981 to 1983 Governor of the BBC,
Trustee of the Tate Gallery from 1978 to 1985 and from 1988 to 1992 a Director of Scottish
Opera. He received the Gold Medal of the Italian Republic in 1974, an Honorary MA from
Christ Church, Oxford in 1975, and was made an Honorary Member of the Royal Northern
College of Music in 1985. In 1992 he was appointed Deputy Lieutenant (DL) of Lancashire by
HM Queen Elizabeth II. He was appointed a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 1991
and received a Knighthood in the New Year’s Honours List for 2003 in recognition of his
charitable services to the arts.
Peter Moores’ philanthropic work began with his passion for opera: in his twenties he identified
and helped a number of young artists in the crucial, early stages of their careers, several of whom
– Dame Joan Sutherland, Sir Colin Davis and the late Sir Geraint Evans amongst them – became
world-famous. He set up his eponymous Foundation in 1964 when he was thirty-two, in order to
develop his charitable aims, not only in music and the visual arts, but also in education, health,
youth, social and environmental projects. To date, because of his initiatives and life-long
commitment to these causes, he has disbursed more than £85 million of his own money through
the Foundation and the Peter Moores Charitable Trust – ‘to get things done and to open doors’.
Projects to help the young have ranged from a scheme to encourage young Afro-Caribbeans to
stay on at school to the endowment of a Faculty Directorship and Chair of Management Studies at
Oxford University (providing the lead donation in 1991 for the new School of Management
Studies). In 1994 a permanent Transatlantic Slave Trade Gallery, initiated by Peter Moores, opened
at the Merseyside Maritime Museum, with the aim of fostering discussion about the heritage and
true history of the slave trade. Substantial help was given to the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic
Development Trust, whilst through annual PMF Scholarships established in 1971 well over two
hundred young singers have received practical support at the outset of their careers, enabling a
significant number to become international opera stars.
In 1993 the Foundation acquired Compton Verney, an eighteenth-century mansion, and
established the Compton Verney House Trust, an independent charity which it funded in order to
transform the mansion into an art gallery designed especially to encourage newcomers to the visual
arts. Alongside major international touring exhibitions, it will house permanent collections of
North European art, Neapolitan paintings and one of the finest collections of archaic oriental
bronzes in the UK, as well as a British Portrait Collection and a British Folk Art Collection. The
gallery is scheduled to open in Spring 2004.
Opera has given the Foundation its most public ‘face’. Since Peter Moores initiated the live
recording of the ‘Goodall Ring’ at the London Coliseum in the 1970s, the Foundation has enabled
some eighty recordings to be produced: Chandos Records’ Opera in English series – ‘Opera that
speaks your language’ – is now the largest recorded collection of operas sung in English whilst
Opera Rara’s recordings of rare bel canto operas have opened up an immensely rich repertory
previously only accessible to scholars. In live performance, the Foundation has encouraged the
creation of new work and schemes to attract new audiences, financing the publication of scores
and enabling rarely heard works to be staged by British opera companies and festivals.
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Page 20
Große Opernarien
Der Begriff Zwischenfach bezieht sich auf
Stimmen wie die der englischen Sängerin
Diana Montague. Dass Organen dieser Art
beinahe keine Grenzen gesetzt sind, beweist
das vorliegende abwechslungsreiche Recital.
Diana Montague ist eine hohe
Mezzosopranistin, die, wie ihre Vorgängerin
Pauline Viardot im 19. Jahrhundert und
andere Sängerinnen, nicht nur die Rollen des
üblichen Mezzofachs beherrscht, sondern auch
viele Partien singt, die eigentlich in den
Sopranbereich fallen. Dabei handelt es sich
um ein Repertoire, das sich von der
Barockoper bis zur Operette erstreckt; diese
CD sowie Diana Montagues Karriere
gewähren einen lebhaften, aufschlussreichen
Überblick über das Fach.
Wie in der ersten Kompilation der
Opernarien, die sie für Chandos einspielte
(CHAN 3010), ist Diana Montague eine
hervorragende Verfechterin der Oper in ihrer
Landessprache, d.h. auf Englisch. Die
schlanke, ansprechende Stimme bringt den
Text großartig zur Geltung und verleiht jedem
Wort, jeder Phrase eine ganz besondere
Bedeutung. Sie ist auch mit einem
angeborenen Timbre gesegnet, an dem sie
gearbeitet hat, bis es mit der Musik atmet und
allen Stücken, die sie singt, eine eigene
Beredsamkeit und gegebenfalls humorvolle
Ausdrucksweise verleiht.
Den Löwenanteil dieses Recitals nehmen
Arien von Händel, Mozart und Gluck ein –
alles Komponisten, die der Sängerin besonders
liegen. Ihre Opern spannen die Epoche des
Aufstiegs und Untergangs der Kastraten.
Zunächst übernahmen sie zahlreiche
Hauptrollen in Händels Opern; als die
künstliche Züchtung dieses “Fachs” allmählich
abgeschafft wurde, entstanden viele
Hosenrollen für Sängerinnen, also für
Stimmen wie die der Montague. Diese
Tradition wurde auch im 19. und 20.
Jahrhundert aufrechterhalten, z.B. in den
Richard Strauss-Partien des Octavian und des
Komponisten in Der Rosenkavalier und
Ariadne auf Naxos; in diesem Recital dient die
Rolle des Orlowsky in Die Fledermaus, dem
Meisterwerk des anderen Strauss, und des
Siébel in Faust, als Beleg.
Die ältesten Beispiele sind zwei
wohlbekannte, ergreifende Arien aus Händel20
Opern, die ursprünglich für Kastraten gesetzt
waren. Die Rolle des Ruggiero in Alcina war
für den Kastraten Carestini geschrieben. Die
Zauberin Alcina hat ihn verhext und in ihm
die Liebe erweckt. Im zweiten Akt ist er
wieder bei Sinnen, verläßt aber nur ungern die
herrliche Landschaft, die er in der berühmten
Arie “Verdant pastures” (Band 5 ) besingt. Die
scheinbar einfache Melodie entspricht seinen
zwiespältigen Gefühlen.
Händel eröffnete seinen Opern häufig mit
einem kontemplativen Arioso (z.B. “Ombra
mai fu” in Xerxes). Das ist auch der Fall in
Atalanta: der Held Meleager besingt mit
dem schlichten, elegischen “Noble forests”
(Band 6 ) die Herrlichkeit der Natur. Als
Gegenstück zu diesen Arien von Händel dient
das ungekünstelte “If you are near” (Band 18 ),
das seinerzeit Johann Sebastian Bach
zugeschrieben wurde, heute aber als das Werk
seines Zeitgenossen Stölzel gilt. Wie dem auch
sei, ist es bezaubernd.
Iphigenia in Tauris ist vielleicht die
dramaturgisch überzeugendste Oper aus
Glucks Reifezeit; sie war sein letztes, größtes
Werk für Paris. Die Titelheldin ist eine
wahrhaft tragische Figur, in der Glucks
genialer Satz klassische Beherrschung mit
echter Gefühlstiefe paart. Diana Montague hat
bereits eine Gesamtaufnahme in der
Originalsprache unter John Eliot Gardiner
eingespielt. In ihrer Muttersprache ist die
Verkörperung der Tochter Agamemnons, eine
Priesterin der Göttin Diana auf der Insel
Tauris, womöglich noch eindringlicher und
ergreifender. Die Verzweiflung und
Verlassenheit ihrer Klage im zweiten Akt
“No hope remains in my affliction”
(Band 3 ) enthält melodische Wendungen
und harmonische Progressionen, wie man sie
nur bei Gluck findet. Im vierten Akt beklagt
sie das Geschick, das sie zwingt, ein
furchtbares Blutopfer zu vollziehen: “I implore
thee and tremble” (Band 4 ); echt Glucksche
Töne bringen das Grauen ihrer Zwangslage
zur Geltung. Das warme Mitgefühl, das der
Komponist für seine Heldin empfand, ist in
beiden Stücken unverkennbar und Diana
Montagues Interpretation trägt seinen
Emotionen Rechnung.
In Mozarts Zeit war das Geschlecht der
Kastraten (gottlob) im Aussterben, obwohl der
Komponist bei seinen Opere serie noch immer
Partien für dieses Fach schrieb (siehe unten).
Für den Schürzenjäger Cherubino in The
Marriage of Figaro wäre ein Kastrat natürlich
ganz falsch am Platz gewesen. Mozart
entschied sich für die Stimmlage Sopran;
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allerdings läuft ein leichtes Organ dabei
Gefahr, zu mädchenhaft zu wirken. Hingegen
ist der hohe Mezzo der Montague wie
maßgeschneidert für diesen überschwänglichen
Knaben an der Schwelle des Mannesalters, den
die Arie im ersten Akt “Is it pain, is it pleasure
that fills me” (Band 1 ) so wunderbar
beschreibt. Hier wertete Mozart die Mittellage
aus, um hemmungslose Gefühlswärme
auszudrücken. Cherubino war eine der ersten
Partien, mit denen Diana Montague am
Opernhaus Covent Garden ihre erfolgreiche
Karriere anbahnte. Sie war schauspielerisch
und stimmlich ideal, daher ist dieses
Andenken an ihre Interpretation besonders
glücklich gewählt.
Obwohl Dorabella in Così fan tutte ein
ganz anderes Naturell hat, liegt die Partie im
gleichen Stimmumfang wie die des Cherubino
und wird denn auch im Lauf der Jahre von
Sopranistinnen wie Mezzosopranistinnen
gesungen. Übrigens fielen zu Mozarts Zeit
diese Unterschiede kaum ins Gewicht. Auch
hier ist die Montague, die sich in beiden
Lagen gleich wohlfühlt, die ideale Besetzung.
Zunächst hören wir, wie sie ihre
Verzweiflung mit übertriebenen Worten
ausdrückt: “Torture and agony” (Band 8 ).
Eine der beiden leicht beeinflussbaren
Schwestern beklagt das grausame Geschick,
dass ihr angeblich den Geliebten entrissen hat.
Dieser Ausbruch echter Leidenschaft ist so
emphatisch, dass er geradezu an Gluck
Die nächste Spur bringt Dorabella mit ihrer
Schwester Fiordiligi und dem zynischen alten
Don Alfonso im wunderbaren Abschiedsterzett
“Blow gently, you breezes” (Band 7 ). In
diesem Werk gibt sich Mozarts Duktus
herrlicher ruhender Punkte in der
Erscheinungen Flucht besonders deutlich zu
erkennen; freilich meint es eine Person,
diesmal Alfonso, wohl nicht ganz ernst.
Im zweiten Akt entschließen sich die etwas
seriösere Fiordiligi und die leichtfertige
Dorabella, mit den “neuen” Verehrern Kontakt
aufzunehmen; sie singen ein entzückendes
Duett, in dem sie über die beiden Männer
disponieren: “I will take the handsome, dark
one” (Band 9 ). Die Stimmen verflechten sich
auf echt schwesterliche Weise.
Das Duett “My heart here I give you”
(Band 12 ) drückt Dorabellas neu erwachte
Liebe ganz aufrichtig aus; indes ist die Musik
so betörend, dass man sich des Eindrucks
nicht erwehren kann, auch Guglielmo sei im
Begriff, sich in das “falsche” Mädchen zu
verlieben. Mozart war eben ein Genie. Alan
Opie, der als Guglielmo sowie Alfonso an der
English National Opera aufgetreten ist,
beherrscht beide Partien mühelos, und Orla
Boylan ist die ideale Fiordiligi.
Wie schon erwähnt, schrieb auch Mozart
für Kastraten. In seiner letzten Oper, der Seria
The Clemency of Titus, handelt es sich um
die Partie des Sextus, eines jungen,
empfindsamen Römers, der Vitellia, der
Tochter des enthronten Kaisers, hörig ist.
Vitellia ist erbost, dass Kaiser Titus sie nicht zu
seiner Gattin erwählt hat, und drängt Sextus,
seinen besten Freund zu ermorden. Der
unglückliche Sextus besingt all seine
Gewissensqualen in der langen zweiteiligen
Arie “Send me, but, my beloved, never reject
me in anger” (Band 2 ), in der Mozart den
Charakter des rechtschaffenen, innerlich
zerrissenen Jünglings wunderbar ausdrückt.
Auch bei dieser Partie liegt die Tessitura
zwischen Sopran und Mezzosopran und kann
von beiden Stimmen interpretiert werden.
Es folgen zwei Musterbeispiele der vielen
Mozartarien für Solostimme mit Orchester. Sie
sind Diana Montague wie auf den Leib
geschrieben, denn sie entstanden für Louise
Villeneuve, die erste Dorabella, als Einlagen in
Vicente Martins Oper Il burbero di buon cuore
nach einem Schauspiel von Goldoni, Libretto
von Lorenzo da Ponte, KV 582 und KV 583
im Köchelverzeichnis. KV 582, “Who knows
what feeling” (Band 11 ) ist entzückend, aber
nicht besonders seriös; KV 583, “Banished,
rejected” (Band 10 ) ist in Mozarts
überschwänglichstem, gefühlvollsten Stil
Ein Jahrhundert später befinden wir uns in
einer ganz anderen Welt, nämlich der
russischen Oper mit Fürst Igor von Borodin.
Den zweiten Akt eröffnet ein Chor Polowetzer
Mädchen, die der Kontschakowna ein
schmachtendes Lied vorsingen: “Tender
flower, starved of water” (Band 14 ). Fürst Igor
ist der Gefangene ihres Vaters, des
warmherzigen Khan Kontschak. Das quasiorientale Kolorit und Ambiente der Musik
bietet im dramatischen Geschehen
vorübergehend etws Entspannung. Borodin
vermochte sehr geschickt die Musik des
Westens mit lokalen Einflüssen zu verbinden.
Viel urbaner und mehr nach
westeuropäischem Geschmack ist Gounods
Faust, eine Oper aus derselben Epoche, wie die
reizende Arie des Siébel “When happy days”
(Band 16 ) beweist. Er liebt Margarete, kann
sich aber nicht gegen Faust behaupten.
Mittlerweile hatte in Wien seit Mozarts Zeit
eine grundlegende Änderung im Zugang zur
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Page 24
Musik stattgefunden. Nun war die Operette
die große Mode. Mit seinem Bombenerfolg
des Jahres 1874, Die Fledermaus, machte sich
Johann Strauß etwas maliziös über die
damalige bürgerliche Gesellschaft der k. und k.
Hauptstadt lustig. Mittelpunkt des
Geschehens ist ein Fest im Palais des jungen,
blasierten Prinzen Orlowsky; zu Beginn des
zweiten Aktes verkündet er die Philosophie
seines Lebens in einem Couplet “Chacun à
son goût” (Band 15 ). Dieses Lied, in dem
Nonchalance und Zynismus mit einer
gewissen Taktlosigkeit verbunden sind, fängt
den Charakter des Prinzen großartig ein. Es ist
für eine Mezzostimme gesetzt und folglich
nicht einfach zu singen, denn es liegt zumeist
recht tief, verlangt aber auch mehrmals das
hohe As. Diana Montagues Stimme ist wie
geschaffen, um diese Probleme zu überwinden.
Mit seinem 1898 in Wien uraufgeführten
Opernball erwies sich Richard Heuberger als
einer der erfolgreicheren Nachkommen des
Walzerkönigs. Bei weitem die populärste
Nummer ist “In a cosy chambre séparée”
(Band 13 ). Henri und Hortense begegnen
einander im Foyer der Pariser Oper und er
lockt sie mit Hilfe eines verführerischkantablen Walzers in eine Loge, die für
ungestörte Zusammenkünfte reserviert ist.
Noch erfolgreicher war Lehárs Operette
The Merry Widow, die 1905 zum ersten Mal
über die Bühne ging. Der lyrische Höhepunkt
ist das Duett im zweiten Akt. Der französische
Aristokrat Camille de Rosillon ist in
Valencienne, die Gattin des pontevedrinischen
Gesandten in Paris, Baron Mirko Zeta,
verliebt. Ihre Beziehung gipfelt in dem Stück
“Just as the sun awakens” (Band 17 ).
Valencienne beschwört Camille, sie nicht
weiter zu verfolgen, willigt aber schließlich zu
einem letzten Kuss im Pavillon ein (“See where
the summer-house awaits”). Keiner konnte wie
Lehár so berückende, erotisch suggestive
Musik komponieren. Auch Valencienne ist
eine Zwischenfach-Partie, die der
Sopranstimme sowie dem hohen Mezzo liegt.
Diana Montagues Partner ist der elegante,
eindringliche Tenor Bruce Ford.
© 2003 Alan Blyth
Übersetzung: Gery Bramall
Diana Montague wurde in Winchester
geboren und studierte am Royal Northern
College of Music. Seit ihrem Debüt als Zerlina
mit der Glyndebourne Touring Opera ist sie
an vielen namhaften Opernhäusern – Royal
Opera Covent Garden, Metropolitan Opera in
New York, Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brüssel,
Opéra national de Paris-Bastille, Teatro Colón
in Buenos Aires – sowie bei den Bayreuther
und Salzburger Festspielen aufgetreten.
Ihr Repertoire umfasst die wichtigen Rollen
für Mezzosopran in Opern von Mozart, Gluck,
Strauss, Rossini, Bellini und Berlioz, und im
Rahmen regelmäßiger Konzertverpflichtungen
ist sie unter der Leitung von Sir Georg Solti,
James Levine, Riccardo Muti, Sir John Eliot
Gardiner, Seiji Ozawa, Jeffrey Tate und
Sir Andrew Davis aufgetreten. Ihre
Opernengagements haben sie in alle Welt
geführt: Iphigénie en Tauride in Buenos Aires,
Madrid und an der Welsh National Opera;
Le Comte Ory in Lausanne, Rom und
Glyndebourne; Andromaca in Rossinis Ermione
in Glyndebourne; Proserpina in Monteverdis
Orfeo in Amsterdam; Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria
in Amsterdam und Sydney; Sesto in Madrid;
Der Komponist (Ariadne auf Naxos) an der
Scottish Opera und in Lissabon; Meg Page
(Falstaff ) zur Wiedereröffnung der Royal Opera
Covent Garden; Octavian (Der Rosenkavalier) in
Neapel, Bilbao und am Teatro Real in Madrid;
sowie Marguerite (Faust) in Wien.
Diana Montague hat zahlreiche
Schallplatten aufgenommen, u.a. Monteverdis
Orfeo, I Capuleti e i Montecchi, Norma, Lucia
di Lammermoor, Iphigénie en Tauride, für die
Opera Rara Rosmonda d’Inghilterra, Zoraida di
Granata und Il crociato in Egitto sowie für
Chandos/Peter Moores Foundation Cavalleria
rusticana, Oktavian in Der Rosenkavalier
(Auszüge), Faust und eine frühere Sammlung
großer Opernarien (CHAN 3010).
Walter Weller war von Januar 1992 bis Juli
1997 Musikdirektor und Chefdirigent des
Royal Scottish National Orchestra, von dem er
zum “Conductor Emeritus” ernannt wurde.
Außerdem ist er Künstlerischer Berater und
Chefgastdirigent des Orquesta Nacional de
España. Er war bei der Allgemeinen
Musikgesellschaft Basel Generalmusikdirektor
an der Oper und Musikddirektor des
Orchesters (September 1994 bis Juli 1997),
Chefdirigent des Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
(1980–1985) sowie Musikdirektor und
Künstlerischer Leiter beim Royal Liverpool
Philharmonic Orchestra (1977–1980). Bereits
mit 21 Jahren wurde er zum 1. Konzertmeister
der Wiener Philharmoniker ernannt, die er
später auch dirigierte.
Walter Weller tritt regelmäßig als
Gastdirigent mit den großen Orchestern der
Welt auf und hat zahlreiche Orchester geleitet:
London Symphony Orchestra, London
3:31 pm
Page 26
Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia
Orchestra, Staatskapelle Dresden, RSO Berlin,
Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Philharmonie
Hamburg, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra,
Orchestre de Paris, Orchestre National de
France, Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala Milan,
Concertgebouw Orkest, Radio Filharmonisch
Orkest, Tonhalle Zürich, Orchestre de la
Suisse Romande, Sveriges Radios
Symfoniorkester, Kungliga
Filharmonikerna, Stockholm sowie die
Philharmoniker von Oslo und von Helsinki.
In Nordamerika hat er mit Orchestern wie den
New York Philharmonikern, den
Sinfonieorchestern von Minnesota, San
Francisco, Houston, Pittsburgh, Detroit,
Cincinnati und Toronto sowie dem National
Arts Centre Orchestra von Ottawa gearbeitet.
Zu seinen Opernverpflichtungen gehörten
Der fliegende Holländer (Scala), Ariadne on
Naxos und The Flying Dutchman (English
National Opera), Der Freischütz (Teatro
Comunale, Bologna), Prince Igor (Berliner
Staatskapelle) sowie Fidelio und Der
Rosenkavalier (Scottish Opera). Außerdem hat
er Konzertaufführungen beim Tivoli Festival
geleitet. In seiner Eröffnungssaison in Basel
dirigierte er eine hocherfolgreiche Inszenierung
von Die Frau ohne Schatten. Andere
konzertante Opernaufführungen waren Fidelio
mit dem City of Birmingham Symphony
Orchestra, Elektra und Der fliegende Holländer
mit dem Royal Scottish National Orchestra
sowie Eugene Onegin in Kopenhagen.
Neben Gesamtaufnahmen der Sinfonien von
Prokofjew und Rachmaninow hat Walter Weller
Bartóks Konzert für Orchester, die Lachischen
Tänze von Janáček’s, Bruckners Sinfonie Nr. 4
und für Chandos die zehn Sinfonien
Beethovens und dessen Klavierkonzerte (mit
John Lill) sowie die Mendelssohn-Sinfonien
eingespielt. Für Chandos/Peter Moores
Foundation hat er eine CD Großen
Operettenarien mit Bruce Ford dirigiert.
Guy Gravett
CHAN 3093 BOOK.qxd
Diana Montague as Sesto
in Glyndebourne Festival
Opera’s production of Mozart’s
The Clemency of Titus
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Page 28
Grands airs d’opéra
Le terme Zwischenfach (types intermédiaires)
est utilisé en Allemagne et ailleurs, dans la
littérature, pour décrire le type de voix que
possède Diana Montague. Les possibilités pour
les voix comme la sienne sont presque
illimitées, et le récital varié, éclectique
enregistré ici le confirme. Sa voix de mezzo
aiguë lui permet, comme Pauline Viardot
longtemps avant elle au dix-neuvième siècle, et
d’autres depuis, d’interpréter des rôles destinés
à des mezzos ordinaires et bien d’autres encore
revenant habituellement aux sopranos.
L’éventail est large et s’étend de l’opéra baroque
à l’opérette – comme l’illustrent brillamment ce
disque ainsi que l’évolution de sa carrière.
Comme dans le premier volume d’arias
qu’elle enregistra pour Chandos (CHAN 3010),
Diana Montague défend aussi, de manière très
convaincante, la cause de l’opéra chanté en
anglais. Elle déploie sa voix délicate et plaisante
pour tirer le meilleur parti d’un texte dans la
langue vernaculaire, donnant à chaque terme et
à chaque phrase une inflexion d’une expressivité
spécifique. Elle a aussi l’inestimable avantage de
posséder naturellement, mais d’avoir développé
aussi, un timbre qui palpite avec la musique
qu’elle interprète. Ceci pare tout ce qu’elle
chante d’une éloquence particulière, ou d’esprit
là où il sied.
Dans une importante partie de ce récital,
Diana Montague déploie ses dons
exceptionnels comme interprète de Haendel,
Gluck et Mozart. Leurs opéras couvrent
l’époque de la vogue du castrat. Plus tard,
quand ce type de voix créé artificiellement fut
progressivement écarté, des femmes, avec des
voix du type de celle de Diana Montague
encore, reprirent souvent les rôles de ces jeunes
chanteurs. Cette tradition se poursuivit aux
dix-neuvième et vingtième siècles. Citons à
titre d’exemple, les rôles d’Octavian et du
Compositeur, respectivement dans Der
Rosenkavalier et Ariadne auf Naxos de Richard
Strauss. Dans ce récital, ceci est illustré par
Orlofsky dans Die Fledermaus de Johann
Strauss et par Siébel dans Faust de Gounod.
Les extraits les plus anciens repris sur ce
disque sont deux arias célèbres et émouvants de
Haendel, chantés tous deux par des castrats.
“Verdant pastures” (plage 5 ) dans Alcina est
chanté par Ruggiero et fut interprété à l’origine
par le castrat Carestini. Ruggiero a été ensorcelé
par la magicienne Alcina et est tombé amoureux
d’elle. Il est libéré de ce sortilège dans l’Acte II,
mais se montre assez réticent à l’idée de quitter
les merveilleux pâturages qu’il chante dans cet
aria à juste titre célèbre. Sa mélodie d’apparence
simple voile ses sentiments ambivalents.
Haendel avait souvent pour habitude de
débuter un opéra par un arioso (voir “Ombra
mai fu” dans Xerxes). C’est le cas dans Atalanta
où le héros Meleagro chante cet air élégiaque et
tout en simplicité “Noble forests” (plage 6 ) dans
lequel il célèbre la magnificence de la nature.
Le pendant de ces pièces de Haendel dans cet
enregistrement est la mélodie candide, sincère,
“If you are near” (plage 18 ) qui fut à une certaine
époque attribuée à J.S. Bach et qui l’est
maintenant à son contemporain Stölzel. Qui que
soit le compositeur, la pièce est un délice.
Iphigenia in Tauris de Gluck est peut-être
l’opéra le plus éloquent et explicite du point de
vue dramatique de sa période de maturité. C’est
la dernière et la plus grandiose des œuvres
sérieuses écrite par le compositeur pour Paris.
Son héroïne éponyme est une figure
véritablement tragique dont le destin est exprimé
d’emblée – tel est le génie de Gluck – avec une
sobriété classique et une émotion profonde.
Diana Montague a déjà enregistré l’opéra
complet en français avec John Eliot Gardiner. Ici,
elle chante dans sa langue maternelle et elle est,
s’il est possible, plus émouvante et expressive
encore dans l’interprétation de son rôle, la fille
d’Agamemnon, prêtresse de Diane sur l’île de
Tauride. Dans la lamentation de l’Acte II “No
hope remains in my affliction” (plage 3 ), elle
épanche son désespoir et son esseulement dans
un genre unique à Gluck, à la fois par les
contours mélodiques et la progression
harmonique. Plus tard, dans l’Acte IV, elle
déplore dans “I implore thee and tremble”
(plage 4 ) que son destin l’oblige à un sacrifice
sanglant et exprime en un style spécifiquement
gluckien l’horreur de la situation. Dans les deux
airs, Gluck témoigne d’une profonde compassion
pour son héroïne, des sentiments que reflètent
l’interprétation de Diana Montague.
A l’époque de Mozart, le castrat était,
heureusement, un type de voix appelé à
disparaître, bien que le compositeur ait encore
écrit des rôles pour celui-ci (voir ci-dessous)
dans son opera seria. De toute manière, il
aurait paru étrange de faire appel à un castrat
pour chanter le rôle du juvénile Cherubino
(The Marriage of Figaro). Mozart porta plutôt
son choix sur une soprano, mais les voix
légères dans ce registre peuvent sembler trop
féminines. Le mezzo aigu de Diana Montague,
par contre, convient tout à fait pour restituer
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Page 30
la jeunesse palpitante de Cherubino qui prend
conscience de sa virilité naissante, ce que
résume parfaitement l’aria de l’Acte I “Is it
pain, is it pleasure that fills me” (plage 1 ). Ici,
Mozart exploite les possibilités qu’offre le
registre intermédiaire de la voix pour diffuser la
chaleur et l’acuité des sentiments de
Cherubino. Ce fut l’un des premiers rôles de la
glorieuse carrière de Diana Montague à Covent
Garden. Elle incarnait et chantait le rôle
presque à la perfection, et ce souvenir de cette
exécution est donc particulièrement bienvenu.
Bien que Dorabella dans Così fan tutte soit
un caractère très différent de Cherubino, le
registre vocal des deux rôles est très semblable,
et tous deux ont été interprétés au cours des ans
par des sopranos et des mezzos. De toute
manière, à l’époque de Mozart, les démarcations
rigides entre les types de voix étaient pour ainsi
dire inexistantes. Une fois encore, la voix de
Diana Montague, à mi-chemin entre l’une et
l’autre, semble être la réponse idéale.
Nous l’entendons tout d’abord dans le
burlesque “Torture and agony” (plage 8 ) dans
lequel une des vulnérables héroïnes de Mozart
maudit le destin qui lui a soi-disant ravi son
bien-aimé. Cette explosion de passion,
apparemment sincère, évoque la manière de
Gluck par sa force.
Ensuite, nous entendons Dorabella et sa
sœur Fiordiligi chanter l’incomparable trio
d’adieu en compagnie du cynique vieillard
Don Alfonso dans “Blow gently, you breezes”
(plage 7 ). Mozart, comme de coutume, mais
dans cette oeuvre tout particulièrement,
marque un moment de repos et de réflexion
d’une beauté intemporelle, en dépit du fait
qu’un personnage, tel Alfonso ici, puisse avoir
des pensées très différentes.
Dans l’Acte II, Fiordiligi, la plus résolue des
deux sœurs, et Dorabella – ayant décidé de
tenter leur chance avec leurs “nouveaux”
hommes – chantent un merveilleux duo
dans lequel chacune fait son choix, “I will
take the handsome, dark one” (plage 9 ).
L’entrelacement de leurs deux voix est
véritablement fraternel.
Dans le duo “My heart here I give you”
(plage 12 ), tout comme dans le trio évoqué cidessus, l’amour naissant de Dorabella est
exprimé dans toute son authenticité, mais
nous sentons aussi que Guglielmo, malgré lui,
est en train de tomber amoureux en se
trompant de femme; la musique exprime
l’équivoque avec une étonnante séduction.
C’est le génie de Mozart. Alan Opie qui a
interprété les rôles de Guglielmo et d’Alfonso
pour le English National Opera maîtrise
facilement les deux dans ces extraits et Orla
Boylan a juste la voix qui convient pour
Dans son dernier opéra, The Clemency of
Titus, Mozart écrit, une fois encore, comme je
l’ai noté précédemment, un rôle qu’il destine à
un castrat, celui de Sextus, jeune homme
vulnérable esclave de Vitellia. Désespérée car
l’empereur Titus ne l’a pas choisie comme
impératrice, elle persuade Sextus d’aller
assassiner son meilleur ami, Titus. Toute la
contradiction des sentiments de Sextus est
exposée dans le long aria en deux parties “Send
me, but, my beloved, never reject me in
anger”) (plage 2 ). Mozart y dépeint le
caractère du jeune homme, honnête et
perplexe. Une fois encore, il s’agit d’un rôle qui
de par sa tessiture moyenne peut être interprété
soit par une soprano, soit par une mezzo.
En plus de ses opéras, Mozart a composé de
nombreuses pièces pour voix solo qui sont des
arias avec accompagnement orchestral; nous en
avons deux excellents exemples ici. Ils
conviennent particulièrement bien à Diana
Montague, car tous deux furent écrits pour
Louise Villeneuve, la première Dorabella, afin
d’être insérés dans Il burbero di buon cuore de
Vicente Martin, un opéra d’après un livret de
Da Ponte, inspiré d’une pièce de Goldoni. Ils
se trouvent côte à côte dans le catalogue
Köchel et portent les références K.582 et 583.
Le second qui est beaucoup plus substantiel
est “Banished, rejected” (plage 10 ), composé
dans une style mozartien d’une exceptionnelle
éloquence et profondeur de sentiment.
L’autre “Who knows what feeling” (plage 11 )
est une pièce sans prétention, mais
Environ cent ans plus tard, nous nous
retrouvons dans un univers tout à fait
différent, celui de l’opéra de souche russe
représenté par le Prince Igor de Borodine.
Dans la scène introductive de l’Acte II, un
groupe de jeunes filles polovtsiennes chantent
une mélodie langoureuse “Tender flower,
starved of water” (plage 14 ) devant leur
maîtresse, Kontchakovna, la fille du khan
Kontchak, le souverain bienfaisant dont Igor
est prisonnier. La musique de cet épisode qui
évoque l’Orient par sa coloration et les
sentiments qui l’imprègnent marque un temps
de repos dans ce drame intense. Borodine était
maître dans l’art de marier ce que lui avait
enseigné la musique occidentale aux influences
plus locales. Faust, une œuvre datant de la
même époque, est musicalement beaucoup
plus courtoise et occidentale comme le montre
la charmante mélodie chantée par Siébel
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Page 32
Strauss que le succès récompensa. L’air de très
loin le plus célèbre dans cette oeuvre est “In a
cosy chambre séparée” (plage 13 ) qui évoque la
première rencontre des amants Henri et
Hortense dans un théâtre. Henri mène
Hortense dans la “chambre séparée”, l’une des
loges du théâtre gardée comme chambre
particulière. Il lui fait la cour en chantant un
air qui compte parmi les plus délicieusement
séduisants de tout le répertoire de l’opérette.
The Merry Widow de Lehár obtint un
succès plus prodigieux encore en 1905. Le
sommet lyrique de l’œuvre est le duo de
l’Acte II mettant en scène l’aristocrate français
Camille de Rosillon et Valencienne qui est en
réalité l’épouse du baron Mirko, représentant
du Pontevedrin à Paris. La relation illicite
culmine dans l’air “Just as the sun awakens”
(plage 17 ). Valencienne supplie Camille de
mettre un terme à ses ardentes avances, mais
finalement, au son d’une musique fragrante,
très érotique, celle dans laquelle le compositeur
excelle (“See where the summer-house awaits”,
elle consent à un dernier baiser dans le
pavillon qui conduit à toutes sortes d’intrigues
compliquées. Valencienne est encore un de ces
rôles situés à mi-chemin entre deux types de
voix qui ont été chantés à la fois par des
sopranos et par des mezzos. Diana Montague a
“When happy days” (plage 16 ). Le rival de
Faust pour la main de Marguerite est
condamné à l’insuccès.
Entre temps, à Vienne, la situation avait
beaucoup évolué en termes de génie et de
caractère musical depuis l’époque de Mozart.
L’opérette faisait fureur. Johann Strauss,
dans ce grand succès que fut son opérette
Die Fledermaus en 1874, ridiculisait avec une
tendresse mitigée la société bourgeoise du
moment dans la capitale autrichienne. La pièce
se joue autour de la réception offerte au palais
du prince Orlofsky, un jeune homme blasé
que la vie ennuie et qui cherche à être distrait.
Dans les couplets qu’il chante peu après le
début de l’Acte II, il énonce sa philosophie – il
veut que tout le monde boive avec lui et le
divertisse (“Chacun à son goût”, plage 15 ).
Strauss esquisse son caractère à la perfection
dans un air qui allie nonchalance et cynisme,
avec une touche de gaucherie. Ecrit pour une
voix de mezzo, il n’est pas facile à chanter. Il se
situe pour une grande partie dans le registre
grave, mais il y a aussi une répétition du la
bémol. Une voix comme celle de Diana
Montague convient parfaitement pour
surmonter ses difficultés.
Avec son Opera Ball créé à Vienne en 1898,
Richard Heuberger fut l’un des disciples de
ici comme partenaire Bruce Ford, ténor
élégant, convaincant.
Glyndebourne; Proserpina dans Orfeo de
Monteverdi à Amsterdam; Il ritorno d’Ulisse in
patria à Amsterdam et à Sydney; Sesto à
Madrid; le Compositeur (Ariadne auf Naxos)
au Scottish Opera et à Lisbonne; Meg Page
(Falstaff ) pour la réouverture du Royal Opera
de Covent Garden à Londres; Octavian (Der
Rosenkavalier) à Naples, Bilbao et au Teatro
Real de Madrid; Marguerite à Vienne.
La riche discographie de Diana Montague
inclut Orfeo de Monteverdi, I Capuleti e i
Montecchi, Norma, Lucia di Lammermoor, et
Iphigénie en Tauride. Pour Opera Rara, elle a
enregistré Rosmonda d’Inghilterra, Zoraida di
Granata, Il crociato in Egitto, et pour Chandos
et la Peter Moores Foundation, Cavalleria
rusticana, Octavian dans Der Rosenkavalier
(extraits), Faust en un disque précédent dans la
collection Great Operatic Arias (CHAN 3010).
© 2003 Alan Blyth
Traduction: Marie-Françoise de Meeûs
Diana Montague est née à Winchester, et a
fait ses études au Royal Northern College of
Music de Manchester. Depuis ses débuts dans
le rôle de Zerlina avec le Glyndebourne
Touring Opera, elle s’est produite dans des
salles telles que le Royal Opera de Covent
Garden à Londres, le Metropolitan Opera de
New York, le Théâtre de la Monnaie à
Bruxelles, l’Opéra national de Paris-Bastille, le
Teatro Colon de Buenos Aires, et dans les
festivals de Bayreuth et Salzbourg.
Son répertoire compte les grands roles de
mezzo-sopranos dans des opéras de Mozart,
Gluck, Strauss, Rossini, Bellini et Berlioz. Très
demandée en concert, elle a chanté sous la
direction de chefs tels que Sir Georg Solti,
James Levine, Riccardo Muti, Sir John Eliot
Gardiner, Seiji Ozawa, Jeffrey Tate et Sir
Andrew Davis. Parmi ses prestations à la scène,
on citera Iphigénie en Tauride à Buenos Aires, à
Madrid et au Welsh National Opera; Le Comte
Ory à Lausanne, Rome et Glyndebourne;
Andromaca dans Ermione de Rossini à
Après avoir été directeur musical et chef
principal du Royal Scottish National Orchestra
de janvier 1992 à juillet 1997, Walter Weller
est aujourd’hui chef honoraire de cet ensemble.
Il est également conseiller artistique et chef
invité principal de l’Orchestre National
d’Espagne. Il fut directeur artistique de
l’Allgemeine Musikgesellschaft de Bâle,
directeur musical de l’Opéra de Bâle et chef
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Page 34
principal de l’Orchestre symphonique de Bâle de
septembre 1994 à juillet 1997, chef principal du
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra de 1980 à 1985
ainsi que directeur musical et artistique du Royal
Liverpool Philharmonic de 1977 à 1980. A l’âge
de vingt et un ans, il fut nommé premier violon
de l’Orchestre Philharmonique de Vienne, une
formation qu’il dirigea par la suite.
Il est invité régulièrement à diriger les plus
grands orchestres du monde et a travaillé avec le
London Symphony Orchestra, le London
Philharmonic Orchestra, le Philharmonia
Orchestra, le Staatskapelle de Dresde,
l’Orchestre Symphonique de Berlin, le
Gewandhaus de Leipzig, la Philharmonie de
Hambourg, l’Orchestre Philharmonique
d’Israël, l’Orchestre de Paris, l’Orchestre
National de France, l’Orchestre du Théâtre de
La Scala à Milan, l’Orchestre Royal du
Concertgebouw, l’Orchestre Philharmonique de
la Radio Néerlandaise, l’Orchestre de la
Tonhalle de Zürich, l’Orchestre de la Suisse
Romande, l’Orchestre de la Radio Suédoise,
l’Orchestre Philharmonique de Stockholm, ceux
d’Oslo et d’Helsinki. En Amérique du Nord, il
a collaboré avec des ensembles tels le New York
Philharmonic Orchestra, les Orchestres
Symphoniques du Minnesota, de San Francisco,
Houston, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Cincinnati et
Toronto ainsi qu’avec le National Arts Centre
Orchestra à Ottawa.
Sur la scène lyrique, il a dirigé entre autres
Der fliegende Holländer à La Scala, Ariadne on
Naxos et The Flying Dutchman pour l’English
National Opera, Der Freischütz au Teatro
Comunale de Bologne, Prince Igor pour le
Staatskapelle de Berlin et Fidelio ainsi que Der
Rosenkavalier pour Scottish Opera. Il s’est
également produit en concert dans le cadre du
Festival de Tivoli. Durant sa première saison à
Bâle, il a dirigé une version extrêmement réussie
de Die Frau ohne Schatten. Parmi les autres
opéras qu’il donna en concert, notons Fidelio
avec le City of Birmingham Symphony
Orchestra, Elektra et Der fliegende Holländer
avec le Royal Scottish National Orchestra ainsi
qu’Eugen Onegin à Copenhague.
Sa discographie comprend des cycles des
Symphonies de Prokofiev et de Rachmaninov,
le Concert pour orchestre de Bartók, les
Danses valaques de Janáč ek, la Symphonie
No 1 de Rachmaninov, la Symphonie No 4 de
Bruckner et, pour Chandos, les Symphonies et
les Concertos pour piano (avec John Lill) de
Beethoven ainsi que les Symphonies de
Mendelssohn. Pour Chandos/Peter Moores
Foundation il a dirigé une enregistrement de
Grands airs d’opérette avec Bruce Ford.
Corrado Maria Falsini
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Diana Montague as Isolier in Rome Opera’s production of Rossini’s Le Comte Ory
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Grandi arie operistiche
Zwischenfach (tra un registro e l’altro) è un
termine tedesco che può aiutarci a descrivere la
voce di Diana Montague. Le cantanti come lei
hanno possibilità quasi infinite, come
conferma questo vario ed eclettico recital. Pur
essendo un mezzosoprano, Diana Montague è
capace, come Pauline Viardot nel lontano
Ottocento e altre cantanti delle epoche
successive, di affrontare anche molti altri brani
normalmente appartenenti al repertorio del
soprano. Le sue possibilità abbracciano ruoli
che vanno dall’opera barocca all’operetta,
come testimoniano questo straordinario disco
e il progresso della sua carriera.
Abbiamo già visto nel primo volume di arie
da lei registrate per Chandos (CHAN 3010)
che Diana Montague è una strenua paladina
dell’opera in lingua inglese. La sua bella voce
curata diventa uno strumento per sfruttare al
massimo un testo nella propria lingua,
modellando ciascuna parola e frase in base al
suo particolare significato. A questo si
aggiunge la preziosissima qualità innata di un
timbro in grado di palpitare di pari passo con
la musica, un dono da lei curato e sviluppato.
Ecco perché tutte le sue interpretazioni hanno
un accento particolarmente eloquente e, a
volte, spiritoso.
Questo recital esalta in gran parte le sue
eccezionali doti di interprete di Handel, Gluck
e Mozart, compositori legati al periodo
inizialmente dominato dal castrato, che
assumeva molti dei principali ruoli maschili
delle opere di Handel. In seguito, quando i
soprani “artificiali” cominciarono a scomparire,
si diffuse maggiormente l’abitudine di affidare i
personaggi dei giovani uomini a donne, sempre
con voci affini a quella della Montague. La
tradizione proseguiva nell’Ottocento e nel
Novecento, per esempio con i ruoli di Ottavio
e del Compositore in Der Rosenkavalier e
Ariadne auf Naxos di Richard Strauss e viene
ricordata in questo recital dal ruolo di Orlofsky
in Die Fledermaus, di un altro Strauss, e dal
ruolo di Siébel in Faust di Gounod.
Le arie più antiche tra quelle presenti nella
registrazione sono due brani famosi e
commoventi tratti dalle opere di Handel,
entrambe affidate originariamente ai castrati.
“Verdant pastures” (traccia 5 ) dall’Alcina,
viene eseguita da Ruggero e fu originariamente
interpretata dal castrato Carestini. Ruggero,
vittima di un incantesimo della maga Alcina,
si è innamorato di lei. L’incantesimo viene
spezzato nell’Atto II, ma l’eroe non riesce ad
abbandonare i meravigliosi pascoli a cui
inneggia in quest’aria giustamente famosa. La
melodia apparentemente semplice esprime i
suoi sentimenti contrastanti.
Spesso Handel aveva l’abitudine di aprire
un’opera con un arioso meditativo (come
“Ombra mai fu” in Serse). Lo stesso accade in
Atalanta dove l’eroe, Meleagro, esegue un
brano semplice ed elegiaco, “Noble forests”
(traccia 6 ), in cui rende omaggio alle bellezze
della natura. Fanno da contrappunto a questi
brani di Handel il semplice, sincero motivo “If
you are near” (traccia 18 ), un tempo attribuito
a J.S. Bach e oggi al suo contemporaneo
Stölzel, un brano comunque delizioso.
Dal punto di vista drammatico, Iphigenia
in Tauris è probabilmente l’opera più
rivelatrice e coerente della maturità di Gluck,
l’ultima e la più grande delle opere serie
composte per Parigi. L’omonima eroina è una
figura veramente tragica, il cui destino viene
genialmente espresso allo stesso tempo con
autocontrollo classico e profondità
emotiva. Diana Montague ha già registrato la
versione integrale dell’opera in francese con
John Eliot Gardiner. Qui canta nella propria
lingua, e l’interpretazione della figlia di
Agamennone, ormai sacerdotessa di Diana
nella Tauride, forse è ancora più commovente.
Il suo lamento nell’Atto II, “No hope remains
in my affliction” (traccia 3 ), è uno sfogo di
disperazione e solitudine con un taglio
melodico e una progressione armonica
esclusiva di Gluck. Nel brano successivo,
“I implore thee and tremble” (traccia 4 )
dall’Atto IV, Ifigenia lamenta il proprio fato
che l’ha costretta a compiere un sacrificio
sanguinoso con toni che descrivono l’orrore
della situazione nella maniera caratteristica di
Gluck. In entrambi i brani, il compositore
guarda alla propria eroina con profonda
compassione, un’emozione che si rispecchia
nell’interpretazione della Montague.
All’epoca di Mozart, quella del castrato era
(per fortuna) una razza in via di estinzione,
anche se il compositore creò altri ruoli per
questa voce nelle sue opere serie. Comunque,
sarebbe sembrato strano affidare a un cantante
del genere il ruolo del giovane Cherubino
(The Marriage of Figaro). Mozart scelse un
soprano, ma le voci più leggere di questo
registro possono sembrare troppo giovanili. Il
mezzosoprano alto della Montague, invece, è
ideale per il ritratto del paggio appassionato,
che manifesta perfettamente la consapevolezza
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Page 38
della propria virilità incipiente nell’aria
dell’Atto I, “Is it pain, is it pleasure that fills
me” (traccia 1 ). Mozart qui sfrutta l’abilità
del registro medio della voce per proiettare il
calore e l’immediatezza dei sentimenti di
Cherubino. Questo è stato uno dei primi ruoli
della fortunata carriera della Montague al
Covent Garden. La cantane era perfetta per
aspetto e per interpretazione e il ricordo della
sua interpretazione è graditissimo.
Sebbene Dorabella in Così fan tutte sia un
personaggio molto diverso da Cherubino, la
gamma vocale di entrambi è quasi la stessa e,
quindi, è stata affidata negli anni sia a soprani
sia a mezzosoprani. Comunque ai tempi di
Mozart le rigide differenze tra registri non
esistevano. Ancora una volta, la voce della
Montague sembra la risposta ideale, in
equilibrio tra i due generi.
La sentiamo prima nell’imitazione della
retorica di “Torture and agony” (traccia 8 ) in
cui Mozart spinge la sua sensibile eroina a
inveire contro il destino che avrebbe
allontanato da lei l’innamorato. L’esplosione di
questa passione apparentemente sincera ha una
forza che ricorda la musica di Gluck.
Poi è la volta di Dorabella e di sua sorella
Fiordiligi, in un impareggiabile trio d’addio in
compagnia del vecchio cinico Don Alfonso:
“Blow gently, you breezes” (traccia 7 ). Come
è sua abitudine, specialmente in quest’opera,
Mozart crea un momento eterno di riposo e
riflessione, anche se un personaggio, in questo
caso quello di don Alfonso, nutre sentimenti
molto diversi.
Nell’Atto II, la risoluta Fiordiligi e Dorabella,
avendo deciso di lasciarsi convincere dai “nuovi”
uomini, cantano un delizioso duetto in cui
ciascuna fa la propria scelta, “I will take the
handsome, dark one” (traccia 9 ). Anche le due
voci sono sorelle, nel loro intrecciarsi.
Nel duetto, “My heart here I give you”
(traccia 12 ), come nel trio precedente, il nuovo
amore di Dorabella è espresso con sincerità,
mentre Guglielmo, suo malgrado, è sul punto
di innamorarsi della donna “sbagliata”, tale è la
forza seducente e ingannatrice della musica
geniale di Mozart. Alan Opie, cha ha
interpretato i ruoli di Guglielmo e Alfonso per
la English National Opera, li padroneggia
entrambi con facilità in questi brani e Orla
Boylan ha la voce giusta per Fiordiligi.
Nella sua ultima opera, The Clemency of
Titus, Mozart compose ancora una volta un
ruolo per castrato: la parte di Sesto, un
giovane vulnerabile, completamente schiavo di
Vitellia. Offesa di non essere stata scelta come
imperatrice, Vitellia convince Sesto ad
assassinare Tito, il suo migliore amico. Sesto
esprime i suoi sentimenti contrari nella lunga
aria in due parti, ‘Send me, but, my beloved,
never reject me in anger’ (traccia 2 ), con cui
Mozart presenta il personaggio di questo
giovane retto e tormentato. Anche in questo
caso il ruolo può essere affidato a un soprano o
mezzosoprano, per la sua tessitura intermedia
tra i due registri.
Mozart compose anche molto brani
indipendenti per voce solista di cui qui
vengono presentati due ottimi esempi con
l’accompagnamento dell’orchestra. Le arie
sono particolarmente adatte a Diana
Montague in quanto furono entrambe
composte per Louise Villeneuve, la prima
Dorabella, per essere inserite in Il burbero di
buon cuore, di Vicente Martin, un’opera su
libretto di Da Ponte, basata su una commedia
di Goldoni. Si trovano affiancate nel catalogo
Köchel con i numeri K. 582 and 583. La
seconda e più impegnativa è “Banished,
rejected”, (traccia 10 ) composta nella maniera
più sentita, altisonante di Mozart. L’altra,
“Who knows what feeling” (traccia 11 ), è un
brano più leggero, ma incantevole.
Circa un secolo dopo, ci ritroviamo in un
mondo completamente diverso, quello
dell’opera russa, con Prince Igor di Borodin.
Nella scena iniziale dell’Atto II, un gruppo di
fanciulle polovesi canta una canzone
languida, “Tender flower, starved of water”
(traccia 14 ), davanti alla padrona
Konciakovna, figlia del Khan Konciak,
governante benevolo che tiene prigioniero
Igor. La musica, di colore e ispirazione quasi
orientale, crea un momento di distensione in
un dramma carico di tensione. Borodin aveva
l’abilità di abbinare quanto aveva imparato
dalla musica occidentale ad influenze più
locali. Faust, un’opera dello stesso periodo,
rivela un carattere musicale molto più cortese e
occidentale, come dimostra il delizioso brano
di Siebel “When happy days” (traccia 16 ).
Il rivale di Faust alla mano di Margherita è
destinato al fallimento.
A fine Ottocento, molte cose erano
cambiate a Vienna rispetto ai tempi di Mozart
per quanto riguarda i costumi e la musica.
Adesso era di gran moda l’operetta. Nel suo
grande successo del 1874, Die Fledermaus,
Johann Strauss si prese gioco senza tanti
complimenti della società borghese dell’epoca
nella capitale austriaca. Al centro della vicenda
è il ballo organizzato al palazzo del principe
Orlofsky, un giovane blasé annoiato della vita,
in cerca di divertimento. Nei suoi versi
all’inizio dell’Atto II dichiara la propria
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Page 40
filosofia. Esorta tutti a bere con lui e a farlo
divertire (“Chacun à son goût”, traccia 15 ).
Strauss definisce perfettamente la sua
personalità in un brano che abbina noncuranza
e cinismo con un pizzico di goffaggine.
Composta per un mezzosoprano, l’aria non è
facile da cantare. Per lo più è in un registro
basso, ma contiene anche alcuni la bemolle
ripetuti. Una voce come quella della Montague
è ideale per superare le sue difficoltà..
Richard Heuberger fu uno dei seguaci di
Strauss di maggior successo, con il suo Opera
Ball eseguito per la prima volta a Vienna nel
1898. Il brano più riuscito è “In a cosy
chambre séparée”, (traccia 13 ), in cui gli
innamorati Henri e Hortense si incontrano per
la prima volta in un teatro. L’uomo guida la
donna nella chambre séparée, uno dei palchi del
teatro adibito a camera privata, e la corteggia
con uno dei più seducenti brani operettistici.
The Merry Widow di Lehár riscosse ancora
più successo nel 1905. La sua vetta lirica è il
duetto dell’Atto II tra Camillo de Rosillon,
aristocratico francese, e Valencienne, moglie
del barone Mirko, inviato di Pontevedrin a
Parigi. La relazione culmina in questo brano,
“Just as the sun awakens” (traccia 17 ).
Valencienne supplica Camillo di desistere dalle
sue focose avances ma alla fine, al suono della
musica raffinata, piena di richiami erotici di
cui il compositore era maestro (“See where the
summer-house awaits”), accetta un ultimo
bacio nella serra, che porterà a una serie di
complicazioni nella vicenda. Valencienne è un
altro ruolo “intermedio”, eseguito da soprani e
mezzosoprani alti. Diana Montague qui è
accompagnata dall’elegante, persuasivo tenore
Bruce Ford.
© 2003 Alan Blyth
Traduzione: Emanuela Guastella
Diana Montague è nata a Winchester e ha
studiato presso il Royal Northern College of
Music. Dopo il suo esordio nel ruolo di
Zerlina con la Glyndebourne Touring Opera si
è esibita in teatri quali la Royal Opera House
di Covent Garden, la Metropolitan Opera di
New York, il Théâtre de la Monnaie di
Bruxelles, l’Opéra national de Paris-Bastille, il
Teatro Colón di Buenos Aires e ha partecipato
ai festival di Bayreuth e Salisburgo.
Il suo repertorio include i principali ruoli
per mezzosoprano delle opere di Mozart,
Gluck, Strauss, Rossini, Bellini e Berlioz. La
sua ricca attività concertistica l’ha vista
comparire a fianco di Sir Georg Solti, James
Levine, Riccardo Muti, Sir John Eliot
Gardiner, Seiji Ozawa, Jeffrey Tate e Sir
Andrew Davis. I suoi impegni hanno
compreso Iphigénie en Tauride a Buenos Aires,
Madrid e con la Welsh National Opera; Le
Comte Ory a Losanna, Roma e Glyndebourne;
Andromaca nell’Ermione di Rossini a
Glyndebourne; Proserpina nell’Orfeo di
Monteverdi ad Amsterdam; Il ritorno d’Ulisse
in patria ad Amsterdam e Sydney; i ruoli di
Sesto a Madrid; il Compositore (Ariadne auf
Naxos) per Scottish Opera e a Lisbona; Meg
Page (Falstaff ) per la riapertura della Royal
Opera House, Covent Garden; Ottavio (Der
Rosenkavalier) a Napoli, Bilbao e al Teatro Real
di Madrid, e Marguerite a Vienna.
La ricca discografia di Diana Montague
comprende Orfeo di Monteverdi, I Capuleti e i
Montecchi, Norma, Lucia di Lammermoor,
Iphigénie en Tauride; per Opera Rara Rosmonda
d’Inghilterra, Zoraida di Granata e Il crociato in
Egitto; per Chandos/Peter Moores
Foundation, Cavalleria rusticana, Ottoavio in
Der Rosenkavalier (momenti salienti), Faust, e
il disco Great Operatic Arias (CHAN 3010).
è Consulente artistico e Direttore ospite
dell’Orchestra nazionale di Spagna. È stato
Direttore artistico della Allgemeine
Musikgesellschaft di Basilea, Direttore
musicale del Teatro di Basilea e Direttore
principale dell’Orchestra sinfonica di Basilea
dal settembre 1994 fino al luglio 1997,
Direttore stabile della Royal Philharmonic
Orchestra dal 1980 al 1985 e Direttore
Musicale e artistico della Royal Liverpool
Philharmonic dal 1977 al 1980. All’età di
ventuno anni è stato nominato primo violino
dell’Orchestra filarmonica di Vienna, di cui in
seguito sarebbe diventato direttore.
Walter Weller viene regolarmente invitato
come direttore ospite da importanti orchestre
di tutto il mondo e ha lavorato con la London
Symphony Orchestra, la London
Philharmonic, la Philharmonia Orchestra, la
Staatskapelle di Dresda, la RSO di Berlino,
l’orchestra del Gewandhaus di Lipsia, la
Philharmonie di Amburgo, la Israel
Philharmonic Orchestra, l’Orchestre de Paris,
l’Orchestre National de France, l’Orchestra del
Teatro alla Scala di Milano, l’Orchestra del
Concertgebouw, l’Orchestra filarmonica della
radio olandese, la Tonhalle-Orchester di
Zurigo, l’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande,
l’orchestra della radio svedese, la Filarmonica
Walter Weller è stato Direttore musicale e
Direttore stabile della Royal Scottish National
Orchestra tra il gennaio del 1992 e il luglio del
1997 e oggi è il suo Direttore Emerito. Inoltre
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di Stoccolma e le Filarmoniche di Oslo e di
Helsinki. Nell’America del nord ha lavorato
con la New York Philharmonic, le orchestre
sinfoniche del Minnesota, di San Francisco,
Houston, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Cincinnati e
Toronto e l’Orchestra del National Arts Centre
di Ottawa.
In teatro Walter Weller ha diretto tra l’altro
Der fliegende Holländer alla Scala, Ariadne on
Naxos e The Flying Dutchman per la English
National Opera, Der Freischütz al Teatro
Comunale di Bologna, Il principe Igor per la
Staatskapelle di Berlino, Fidelio e Der
Rosenkavalier per la Scottish Opera. Ha diretto
concerti al festival di Tivoli. Nella sua prima
stagione a Basilea, ha diretto un allestimento
di grande successo della Frau ohne Schatten.
Altre opere in concerto comprendono Fidelio
con la City of Birmingham Symphony
Orchestra, Elektra e Der fliegende Holländer
con la Royal Scottish National Orchestra ed
Eugenio Onieghin a Copenaghen.
La discografia comprende le sinfonie di
Prokof ’ev e Rachmaninov, il Concerto per
Orchestra di Bartók, le Danze di Lachi di
Janáč ek, la Sinfonia n. 1 di Rachmaninov, a
Sinfonia n. 4 di Bruckner e, per Chandos, le
Sinfonie e i concerti per pianoforte di
Beethoven (con John Lill) e le sinfonie di
Mendelssohn. Per Chandos/Peter Moores
Foundation ha diretto una registrazione di
Grandi arie da operetta con Bruce Ford.
Bill Cooper
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Diana Montague as Romeo
in a scene from Bellini’s
The Capuleti and the
Montecchi at The Royal
Opera House, Covent
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And yet, if no one hear me,
no, ne’er a soul to hear me,
I talk of love alone.
from The Marriage of Figaro
Cherubino’s Aria
Is it pain, is it pleasure that fills me,
and with feverish ecstasy thrills me?
At the sight of a woman I tremble,
and my heart seems to burst into flame.
Love! That word sets me hoping and fearing.
Love! That word that I always am hearing!
Love! Ah, love! How can I dissemble
those desires that I hardly dare name?
English version by Edward J. Dent,
reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press
from The Clemency of Titus
Sextus’s Aria
Is it pain, is it pleasure that fills me,
and with feverish ecstasy thrills me?
At the sight of a woman I tremble,
and my heart seems to burst into flame.
Send me, but, my beloved
never reject me in anger.
For you I shall be stronger:
I shall do all you ask.
Look at me once, I beg you:
I go as your avenger.
That glance so sweet and tender
will ease the fateful hour.
All day for love I languish,
dream of delicious anguish!
To ev’ry vale and mountain,
to stream, to lake, and fountain,
for love, for love I’m sighing;
and Nature’s voice replying…
echoes my tender moan.
All day for love I languish,
dream of delicious anguish!
To ev’ry vale and mountain,
to stream, to lake, and fountain,
wherever I wander
for love, for love I’m sighing;
and Nature’s voice replying…
echoes my tender moan.
Send me, but, my beloved
never reject me in anger.
For you I shall be stronger:
I shall do all you ask.
Look at me, look at me!
That glance so sweet and tender
will ease the fateful hour.
Look at me once, I beg you:
I go as your avenger.
Heaven must treasure beauty
to grant so great a pow’r.
Mazzolà after Metastasio,
translation by David Parry
from Iphigenia in Tauris
Once we hoped that Orestes would come!
But he is dead:
Now ev’ry hope has fled,
endless grief lies before us!
Priestesses’ Chorus and Iphigenia’s Aria
Chorus of Priestesses
Farewell, beloved homeland,
ah, from this alien shore
we longed to return to Mycenae,
but we’ve lost you for evermore!
N.F. Guillard and Du Roullet,
translation by Andrew Porter
from Iphigenia in Tauris
Iphigenia’s Aria
No hope remains in my affliction,
my dear fatherland lost now forever,
lost, ah, lost forever!
(to the Priestesses)
Your mighty King is dead,
those I love are all slain;
so raise your plaintive cries
and share my grief and pain:
your mighty King is dead,
those I loved have been slain!
Ah, no hope remains,
ah, no hope in my affliction!
Land and kindred lost forever!
Your mighty King is dead,
those I love have been slain!
So raise your plaintive cries,
share all my grief and pain!
Your mighty King lies died,
those I love all are slain.
I implore thee and tremble,
O relentless Diana!
Now inspire in my heart
furious desire to kill.
Extinguish every tender sigh,
the plaintive voice of human nature!
Alas! No crueller fate
could the gods have in store:
as a priestess of bloodshed,
a sad, unwilling victim,
I obey!
Tho’ my heart will be torn by remorse,
but my heart will be torn by remorse.
N.F. Guillard and Du Roullet,
translation by Andrew Porter
from Alcina
Ruggiero’s Aria
Chorus of Priestesses
We raise out plaintive cries
to share your grief and pain!
Verdant pastures, leafy woodlands,
all your beauty will decay.
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Perfumed flowers, clear flowing rivers
though you invite me, and delight me,
’tis your fate to fade away.
Verdant pastures, leafy woodlands,
all your beauty will decay:
what I loved and longed to cherish
is as dust, destined to perish
and return to barren clay.
from Così fan tutte
translation by Amanda Holden
from Atalanta
Meleagro’s Aria
Ah! Leave me now, beware the dangerous
madness of a desperate woman!
Go and close the shutters. I hate the daylight.
I hate the air that I’m breathing… I hate
myself !
Who makes fun of my despair?
Who dares console me?
Now go, for pity’s sake, leave me.
Ah, for pity’s sake, leave me to suffer.
Torture and agony, fiercely tormenting,
now do your worst to me, without relenting,
until your tyranny has brought my death.
You fatal Destinies who scourge and punish,
take what is left of me when life has vanished,
when my despairing cries cease with my breath.
Noble forests, sombre and shady,
burning passion fills my heart!
translation by David Parry
Fiordiligi, Dorabella and Don Alfonso’s Trio
from Così fan tutte
Fiordiligi, Dorabella and Don Alfonso
Blow gently, you breezes,
lie quietly, great ocean,
for Heaven surely pleases
to grant them protection
and guide them to shore
Dorabella and Fiordiligi’s Duet
Da Ponte, translation by Anne Ridler
reproduced by permission of ENO Benevolent Fund
He will say ‘For you I languish.’
?Da Ponte translation by David Parry
He will say ‘Ah, soothe my anguish.’
from Così fan tutte
Guglielmo and Dorabella’s Duet
Dorabella and Fiordiligi
This adventure will be risky,
but I know we’ll have some fun!
Da Ponte, translation by Anne Ridler
reproduced by permission of ENO Benevolent Fund
I will take the handsome, dark one,
for he has a wicked mind.
Well, in that case I’ll take the fair one,
for his wit is so refined.
He’s angry, or he’s jealous,
afraid, suspicious, in love.
You know, you gods who hear this,
how pure the love I bear is;
wipe from my soul, I beg you,
the agony of doubt.
Wipe from my soul, I beg you,
the agony of love.
I shall imitate his sighing
and his tragic lover’s style.
Da Ponte, translation by Anne Ridler
reproduced by permission of ENO Benevolent Fund
from Così fan tutte
If he writes me ardent verses
I will tease him with a smile.
Dorabella’s Recitative and Aria
Concert Aria
Banished, rejected, God save me!
Where will my torment guide me,
where will my weeping find me
if heav’nly mercy fails?
You gave it, I take it,
but mine, I’ll not give it;
I cannot command it,
my heart is not mine.
Love, deep and strange within me,
show me the way to follow;
soothe all the pain and sorrow
which fills my heart with doubt.
But a heart here is beating;
now how can that be?
How can your heart be beating?
You gave it to me?
?Da Ponte, translation by David Parry
My heart here I give you,
a pledge and a token.
As mine you have taken,
give yours in return.
Concert Aria
Who knows what feeling
my lover is concealing?
What is beating, beating here?
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What is beating, beating here?
Dorabella and Guglielmo
What is beating, beating here?
It’s my heart that’s beating,
it’s with me no longer,
it’s living with you now,
it beats there for you.
Look closely, look closely,
rejoice in the sight.
No, no, no I’ll go exploring high and low
till I find my lady fair.
So let’s start over there!
Thank heaven, we meet at last!
Oh! Tell me quickly, who you are!
Dorabella and Guglielmo
How happy these changes
of hearts and affections,
what strange new sensations,
what painful delight.
Hortense (entering, wearing a mask)
This is the clock, no sign of Henri,
but he’ll come… without a doubt,
though it could be a tricky problem
if his cash has all run out!
I’m pretty sure he has no notion
who wrote the billet-doux.
And if I know our young lothario
he’s ripe for a rendezvous!
(looking at the clock)
Where can he be?
I can’t wait all night!
(looking at the clock again)
There he is! Five minutes late,
let’s give him a fright!
No, no! Not quite so fast!
In a cosy chambre séparée,
come, let’s enjoy a tender tête à tête.
While we sip champagne
our cares will melt away,
and who knows what pleasures await.
Da Ponte, translation by Anne Ridler
reproduced by permission of ENO Benevolent Fund
And here let me place it.
from The Opera Ball
It must not stay here.
Henri and Hortense’s Duet
Oh, come now, don’t tease me.
What’s happ’ning?
Do not look.
I feel such confusion, but love is to blame.
(Forgive me, Ferrando,
this cannot be true.)
And now turn and face me.
This is the clock, she’s not arrived yet,
if she’s delayed, what shall I do?
The trouble is I’ve no experience
with a secret rendezvous!
My first attempt to woo a lady,
I hope she won’t be long.
Oh! How I wonder if she will like me!
What will happen if it all goes wrong?
(looking at the clock)
Where can she be?
Should I stand and wait?
(looking at the clock again)
Oh! I’m on tenterhooks,
how could she be late?
Who, who, who can advise me what to do?
Where on earth should I search?
Has she left me in the lurch?
What is it?
Henri (nervously)
In a cosy chambre séparée…
Come, let’s enjoy a tender tête à tête…
While we sip champagne…
(She steps back a bit so she can’t be seen by Henri,
and is able stand behind him.)
Our cares will melt away…
No sign at all,
and I’m at my wits end.
Hortense and Henri
And who knows what pleasures await!
Why not turn around, my gallant friend?
You’ll follow me?
Yes, anywhere!
Shh! Quiet, or all the world will hear!
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Page 50
Hortense and Henri
Our chambre séparée!
I’m so in love I may expire!
Soon our lovers will come to join us,
and our sorrows all will pass.
In the cool and fragrant evening
we will quench our thirst at last.
translation by Nigel Douglas
Come let’s enjoy…
from Prince Igor
A tête à tête?
Sunlight dying, night falls fast.
Soon we all will quench our thirst at last.
Song of the Polovtsian Maiden
And after supper…
What joys await!
Polovtsian Maiden
Tender flower, starved of water,
drooping, wilting, in the sunlight burning.
Ah. All her leaves are dry and fading,
and her rosy petals wither.
Polovtsian Maiden and Chorus
Ah. But the sunlight now is dying,
and the dew is falling fast.
Soon the earth will bathe in moisture,
and the flower’s sorrow pass.
In the cool and fragrant evening
she will quench her thirst at last.
I’m burning with such desire,
my blood’s on fire,
but here’s a cosy chambre séparée!
Where we’ll enjoy a tender tête à tête !
Sunlight dying, night falls fast.
Dew will fall, and the flower drink at last.
As the flower thirsts for water
so a maiden yearns for her lover.
While we sip champagne…
Our cares will melt away
Polovtsian Maiden
She will pine and she will languish,
and desire her lover’s caresses.
Hortense and Henri
Who knows what pleasures await!
Polovtsian Maiden and Chorus
Ah. But the sunlight now is dying,
and the night is falling fast.
It’s perfect for a tête à tête !
All friends to come and go are free,
and all I’ll entertain,
but those who will not drink with me
shall never come again.
One kind of man I can’t endure,
the kind that’s simply crass.
The chronic pestilential bore
who will not drain his glass,
and very soon I let him know
that my last word is said,
I take the glass and throw it so,
directly at his head!
Borodin, translation by David Lloyd Jones
from Die Fledermaus
Orlofsky’s Aria
When people say ‘That’s surely
a curious thing to do.’
I answer them quite simply
Chacun à son goût.
Na zdarovye.
Three score and ten the years we men
must suffer here on earth,
but I shall try and try again
to pass the time in mirth.
I ask my friends to join me here,
to while away a night.
But one thing I make very clear
to those whom I invite.
I can’t abide the dreary lout
who makes himself a bore,
and very soon I throw him out,
straight thro’ the nearest door.
C. Haffner & R. Genée after Meilhac and Halévy,
translation by Leonard Hancock and David Pountney
from Faust
Siébel’s Romance
When people say ‘That’s surely
a curious thing to do.’
I answer them quite simply
Chacun à son goût.
When happy days bring you gladness and laughter,
seeing your joy my sadness disappears.
But if the pain and sorrow follow after,
oh, Marguerite, oh, Marguerite,
I shed a tear to mingle with your tears!
We are two flowers that bloom beside each other;
destiny guides us on a single course.
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I share your grief as if I were a brother,
oh, Marguerite, oh, Marguerite,
blameless and chaste, my selfless love endures!
I’ll do my best, I really will!
There, where the summer-house awaits
we shall whisper words of tender love.
Then let me kiss you…
Then grant me, my angel,
just one parting kiss.
No one to hear us? My dearest love!
Now don’t make me angry.
Not out here.
Forgive, forgive me please!
Just as the sun awakens
the sleepy buds of May
so does your beauty inspire me
and drive my fears away.
This seed that you have sown
within my slumb’ring breast,
into a flow’r has grown,
a flow’r forever blest.
Can hearts so newly woken
return to sleep again?
Should words that spring has spoken
dissolve in autumn rain?
This flow’r we both must cherish,
to beautify our lives.
Tho’ all around may perish
the pow’r of love survives.
See where the summer-house awaits,
so suggestive of a rendezvous.
There, where that summer-house awaits
we could be divinely entre nous!
There in the dark of night we could
share love’s delight.
There, where the summer-house awaits
we could kiss the whole night through, we two!
I know, my love, I don’t mean to tease.
Jules Barbier and Michel Carré,
translaton by Christopher Cowell
from The Merry Widow
Valencienne and Camille’s Duet
My darling, no!
O sweetheart, why can’t you let me go?
Calm down, my friend!
Always so distant!
No ifs and buts, I’m quite insistent!
You’ll simply have to get engaged to Hanna!
All right, I will.
But why maltreat me in this manner?
Believe me, love, I find it hard.
I don’t enjoy these endless quarrels.
I’d yield to you with no holds barred,
if there were no such thing as morals.
So does this mean goodbye forever?
O Camille!
It means at least a serious endeavour.
Camille and Valencienne
There in the dark of night
we can share love’s delight.
There, where the summer-house awaits
we shall kiss the whole night through, we two!
Léon & Stein after Meilhac,
translation by Nigel Douglas, © Josef Weinberger Ltd
Love calls me… How can I not surrender?
If you are near I shall go gladly
to Death’s eternal peace and rest.
Ah, with what joy my end shall fill me,
if your sweet hands are there to still me
and close my trusting eyes at last.
translation by David Parry
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Opera in English on Chandos
Opera in English on Chandos
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Opera in English on Chandos
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Opera in English on Chandos
Steinway Concert Grand provided and maintained by Steinway & Sons, London
Harpsichord supplied by McCartney Music
Harmonium supplied by Cambridge Reed Organs
Artistic consultant to the Peter Moores Foundation: Patric Schmid
Staging consultant and repetiteur: Charles Kilpatrick
Language and vocal consultant: Ludmilla Andrew
Repertoire consultant: Nigel Douglas
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Recording producer Brian Couzens
Sound engineer Ralph Couzens
Assistant engineers Christopher Brooke and Michael Common, and Richard Smoker (track 16)
Editors Rachel Smith, and Jonathan Cooper (track 16)
Operas administrator Sue Shortridge
Recording venue Blackheath Halls, London; 3–10 February 2002; & 27–31 July 1998 (track 16)
Front cover Diana Montague in Glyndebourne Festival Opera’s production of The Marriage of
Figaro (© Mike Hoban/ArenaPAL)
Back cover Session photograph of Walter Weller by Bill Cooper
Design Sean Coleman
Booklet typeset by Dave Partridge
Booklet editor Kara Reed
Copyright OUP (track 1), English National Opera (track 2), English National Opera/Anne
Ridler Estate (tracks 7–9, & 12), tracks 10 & 11 published by Alkor-Edition-Kassel, Bosworth
and Co. Ltd (track 13), Scottish Opera (track 15), Josef Weinberger Ltd
(track 17)
p 1999, 2003 Chandos Records Ltd
c 2003 Chandos Records Ltd
Chandos Records Ltd, Colchester, Essex, England
Printed in the EU
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Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
from The Marriage of Figaro
‘Is it pain, is it pleasure that fills me’
from The Clemency of Titus
‘Send me, but, my beloved’
from Così fan tutte
‘Blow gently, you breezes’
‘I will take the handsome, dark one’
with Orla Boylan soprano
from Faust
‘When happy days’
from The Merry Widow
‘Just as the sun awakens’
with Bruce Ford tenor
Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel
‘If you are near’
TT 75:01
Concert Arias
Diana Montague mezzo-soprano
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Walter Weller
LC 7038 DDD p 1999, 2003 Chandos Records Ltd
c 2003 Chandos Records Ltd
Printed in the EU
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‘Who knows what feeling’
Charles Gounod
Franz Lehár
Colchester . Essex . England
from Die Fledermaus (The Bat)
‘Three score and ten’
with Philharmonia Orchestra • David Parry (20-bit recording)
‘Torture and agony’
Johann Strauss II
with Orla Boylan soprano • Alan Opie baritone
‘Banished, rejected, God save me!’
from Prince Igor
‘Tender flower, starved of water’
with Geoffrey Mitchell Choir
with Helen Williams soprano
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
from The Opera Ball
‘In a cosy chambre séparée’
Alexander Borodin
George Frideric Handel
from Alcina
‘Verdant pastures, leafy woodlands ’
from Atalanta
‘Noble forests, sombre and shady ’
Richard Heuberger
with Geoffrey Mitchell Choir
‘I implore thee and tremble’
from Così fan tutte
‘My heart here I give you’
with Alan Opie baritone
Christoph Willibald von Gluck
from Iphigenia in Tauris
‘No hope remains in my affliction’
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