Fleming and Hvorostovsky in Moscow (2006)

American soprano Renée Fleming and Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky concert in Moscow, 2006. It was the first concert of the “Hvorostovsky and Friends” concert series. State Chamber Orchestra of Russia conducted by Constantine Orbelian.

Programme

  1. Georges Bizet – Overture to the opera “Carmen”
  2. Georges Bizet – Escamillo Couplets (Toreador Song) from the opera “Carmen” [1]
  3. Giuseppe Verdi – Violetta and Germont duet from the opera “La Traviata” [2]
  4. Giuseppe Verdi – Aria Count di Luna from the opera “Il Trovatore” [3]
  5. Jules Massenet – Herod’s aria from the opera “Hérodiade” [4]
  6. Richard Strauss – “Cäcilie” from the cycle of four songs for voice and piano [5]
  7. Erich Wolfgang Korngold – Marietta Aria from the opera “The Dead City” [6]
  8. Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky – Shaklovity aria from the opera “Khovanshchina” [7]
  9. Alexander Borodin – Prince Igor’s aria from the opera “Prince Igor” [8]
  10. Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky – The final scene from the opera “Eugene Onegin” [9]
  11. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Duet from the opera “Don Giovanni” [10]
  12. George Gershwin – Lullaby (Summertime) from “Porgy and Bess” [11]
  13. Franz Lehár – Duet from the operetta “The Merry Widow” [12]

Notes

  1. The Toreador Song is the popular name for the aria “Votre toast, je peux vous le rendre” from the opera Carmen, composed by Georges Bizet to a libretto by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy. It is sung by the bullfighter Escamillo as he enters in act 2 (toréador is an old Spanish term for “bullfighter”) and describes various situations in the bullring, the cheering of the crowds and the fame that comes with victory.

    French

    Votre toast, je peux vous le rendre,
    Señors, señors car avec les soldats
    oui, les toréros, peuvent s’entendre;
    Pour plaisirs, pour plaisirs,
    ils ont les combats !

    Le cirque est plein, c’est jour de fête !
    Le cirque est plein du haut en bas;
    Les spectateurs, perdent la tête,
    Les spectateurs s’interpellent
    À grand fracas !

    Apostrophes, cris et tapage
    Poussés jusques à la fureur !
    Car c’est la fête du courage !
    C’est la fête des gens de cœur !
    Allons ! en garde !
    Allons ! allons ! Ah !

    (Refrain x2)
    Toréador, en garde ! Toréador !
    Toréador !
    Et songe bien, oui,
    songe en combattant
    Qu’un œil noir te regarde,
    Et que l’amour t’attend,
    Toréador, l’amour, l’amour t’attend !

    Tout d’un coup, on fait silence,
    On fait silence… ah ! que se passe-t-il ?
    Plus de cris, c’est l’instant !
    Plus de cris, c’est l’instant !

    Le taureau s’élance
    en bondissant hors du toril !
    Il s’élance ! Il entre, il frappe !…
    un cheval roule,
    entraînant un picador,
    “Ah ! Bravo ! Toro !” hurle la foule,
    le taureau va… il vient…
    il vient et frappe encore !

    En secouant ses banderilles,
    plein de fureur, il court !
    Le cirque est plein de sang !
    On se sauve… on franchit les grilles !
    C’est ton tour maintenant !
    Allons ! en garde ! allons ! allons ! Ah !

    (Refrain x2)
    Toréador, en garde ! Toréador !
    Toréador !
    Et songe bien, oui, songe en combattant
    Qu’un œil noir te regarde,
    Et que l’amour t’attend,
    Toréador, l’amour, l’amour t’attend !

    L’amour ! L’amour ! L’amour !
    Toréador, Toréador, Toreador !

    English translation

    Your toast, I can give it back to you,
    Señores, Señores,because with soldiers
    yes, toreros can get along;
    For the pleasures, for the pleasure
    they fight!

    The circus is full, it is a celebrating day!
    The circus is full from top to ground;
    The crowd goes mad,
    the crowd is arguing
    with great deal!

    Apostrophes, shouts and noises
    Push to the breaking point!
    Because it is the celebration of courage!
    It is the celebration of the braves of heart!
    Let’s go! On guard! Let’s go!
    Let’s go!Ah!

    (Chorus x2)
    Toreador, on guard! Toreador!
    Toreador!
    And think well, yes think
    as you are fighting
    that a dark eye is watching you,
    and that love is waiting for you,
    Toreador, love, love is waiting for you!

    All at once, we are silent,
    we are silent,… Oh, what is happening?
    No more shouts, this is it!
    No more shouts, this is it!

    The bull is rushing
    while jumping out of its fence!
    He is rushing in! He’s entering, hitting!
    A horse is falling,
    Dragging down a picador.
    “Ah! Bravo! Toro!” the crowd is calling,
    The bull goes on… he comes…
    he comes, hitting once more!

    While shaking his banderillas ,
    full of rage, he runs!…
    the circus is full of blood !
    We flee… we pass the gates!
    It’s your turn now!
    Let’s go! On guard! Let’s go! Let’s go! Ah!

    (Chorus x2)
    Toreador, on guard! Toreador!
    Toreador!
    And think well , yes think as you are fighting
    that a dark eye is watching you,
    and that love is waiting for you,
    Toreador, love, love is waiting for you!

    Love! Love! Love!
    Toreador, Toreador, Toreador!

  2. La traviata is an opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi set to an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave. It is based on La dame aux Camélias (1852), a play adapted from the novel by Alexandre Dumas. The opera was originally entitled Violetta, after the main character. It was first performed on 6 March 1853 at the La Fenice opera house in Venice.
  3. Il trovatore (The Troubadour) is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto largely written by Salvadore Cammarano, based on the play El trovador (1836) by Antonio García Gutiérrez.
  4. Hérodiade is an opera in four acts by Jules Massenet to a French libretto by Paul Milliet and Henri Grémont, based on the novella Hérodias (1877) by Gustave Flaubert. It was first performed at the Théâtre de la Monnaie in Brussels on 19 December 1881. The libretto is a retelling of the story of John the Baptist, Salome, Herod Antipas and Herodias (a princess of the Herodian Dynasty of Judaea during the time of the Roman Empire).
  5. Cäcilie, Op. 27 No. 2, is the second in a set of four songs composed by Richard Strauss in 1894. The words are from a love poem “Cäcilie” written by Heinrich Hart (1855-1906), a German dramatic critic and journalist who also wrote poetry. It was written for the poet’s wife Cäcilie.

    Cäcilie

    Wenn du es wüßtest,
    Was träumen heißt von brennenden Küssen,
    Von Wandern und Ruhen mit der Geliebten,
    Aug in Auge,
    Und kosend und plaudernd,
    Wenn du es wüßtest,
    Du neigtest dein Herz !

    Wenn du es wüßtest,
    Was bangen heißt in einsamen Nächten,
    Um schauert vom Sturm, da niemand tröstet
    Milden Mundes die kampfmüde Seele,
    Wenn du es wüßtest,
    Du kämest zu mir.

    Wenn du es wüßtest,
    Was leben heißt, umhaucht von der Gottheit
    Weltschaffendem Atem,
    Zu schweben empor, lichtgetragen,
    Zu seligen Höhn,
    Wenn du es wüßtest, wenn du es wüßtest,
    Du lebtest mit mir.

    Cecilia

    If you but knew, sweet,
    what ‘tis to dream of fond, burning kisses,
    of wand’ring and resting with the belov’d one;
    gazing fondly
    caressing and chatting,
    could I but tell you,
    your heart would assent.

    If you but knew, sweet,
    the anguish of waking thro’ nights long and lonely
    and rocked by the storm when no-one is near
    to soothe and comfort the strife weary spirit.
    Could I but tell you,
    you’d come, sweet, to me.

    If you but knew, sweet,
    what living is, in the creative breath of
    God, Lord and Maker
    to hover, upborne on dove-like pinions
    to regions of light,
    if you but knew it, could I but tell you,
    you’d dwell, sweet, with me.

  6. Die tote Stadt (German for The Dead City) is an opera in three acts by Erich Wolfgang Korngold to a libretto by Paul Schott, a collective pseudonym for the composer and his father, Julius Korngold; it is based on the 1892 novel Bruges-la-Morte by Georges Rodenbach.
  7. Khovanshchina (Russian: Хованщина, Hovánščina, sometimes rendered The Khovansky Affair; since the ending -ščina is pejorative) is an opera (subtitled a ‘national music drama’) in five acts by Modest Mussorgsky. Khovanskygate, the name given to a 2014 production in Birmingham, UK, is a modern equivalent. The work was written between 1872 and 1880 in St. Petersburg, Russia. The composer wrote the libretto based on historical sources. The opera was unfinished and unperformed when the composer died in 1881. Like Mussorgsky’s earlier Boris Godunov, Khovanshchina deals with an episode in Russian history, first brought to the composer’s attention by his friend Vladimir Stasov. It concerns the rebellion of Prince Ivan Khovansky, the Old Believers, and the Streltsy against Peter the Great, who was attempting to institute Westernizing reforms to Russia. Peter succeeded, the rebellion was crushed and (in the opera, at least) the Old Believers committed mass suicide. Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov completed, revised, and scored Khovanshchina in 1881–1882. Because of his extensive cuts and “recomposition”, Dmitri Shostakovich revised the opera in 1959 based on Mussorgsky’s vocal score, and it is the Shostakovich version that is usually performed. In 1913 Igor Stravinsky and Maurice Ravel made their own arrangement at Sergei Diaghilev’s request. When Feodor Chaliapin refused to sing the part of Dosifei in any other orchestration than Rimsky-Korsakov’s, Diaghilev’s company employed a mixture of orchestrations which did not prove successful. The Stravinsky-Ravel orchestration was forgotten, except for Stravinsky’s finale, which is still used. Although the setting of the opera is the Moscow Uprising of 1682, its main themes are the struggle between progressive and reactionary political factions during the minority of Tsar Peter the Great and the passing of old Muscovy before Peter’s westernizing reforms. It received its first performance in the Rimsky-Korsakov edition in 1886.
  8. Prince Igor is an opera in four acts with a prologue, written and composed by Alexander Borodin. The composer adapted the libretto from the Ancient Russian epic The Lay of Igor’s Host, which recounts the campaign of Rus prince Igor Svyatoslavich against the invading Cuman (“Polovtsian”) tribes in 1185. He also incorporated material drawn from two medieval Kievan chronicles. The opera was left unfinished upon the composer’s death in 1887 and was edited and completed by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov and Alexander Glazunov. It was first performed in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1890.
  9. Eugene Onegin, Op. 24 is an opera (“lyrical scenes”) in 3 acts (7 scenes), composed by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. The libretto, organised by the composer and Konstantin Shilovsky, very closely follows certain passages in Alexander Pushkin’s novel in verse, retaining much of his poetry. Shilovsky contributed M. Triquet’s verses in Act 2, Scene 1, while Tchaikovsky wrote the words for Lensky’s arioso in Act 1, Scene 1, and almost all of Prince Gremin’s aria in Act 3, Scene 1. Eugene Onegin is a well-known example of lyric opera, to which Tchaikovsky added music of a dramatic nature. The story concerns a selfish hero who lives to regret his blasé rejection of a young woman’s love and his careless incitement of a fatal duel with his best friend. The opera was first performed in Moscow in 1879.
  10. Don Giovanni (K. 527; complete title: Il dissoluto punito, ossia il Don Giovanni, literally The Rake Punished, or Don Giovanni) is an opera in two acts with music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Italian libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte. It is based on the legends of Don Juan, a fictional libertine and seducer. It was premiered by the Prague Italian opera at the Teatro di Praga (now called the Estates Theatre) on October 29, 1787. Da Ponte’s libretto was billed, like many of its time, as dramma giocoso, a term that denotes a mixing of serious and comic action. Mozart entered the work into his catalogue as an opera buffa. Although sometimes classified as comic, it blends comedy, melodrama and supernatural elements.
  11. “Summertime” is an aria composed by George Gershwin for the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess. The lyrics are by DuBose Heyward, the author of the novel Porgy on which the opera was based, although the song is also co-credited to Ira Gershwin by ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers).
    Summertime,
    And the livin’ is easy
    Fish are jumpin’
    And the cotton is high

    Your daddy’s rich
    And your mamma’s good lookin’
    So hush little baby
    Don’t you cry

    One of these mornings
    You’re going to rise up singing
    Then you’ll spread your wings
    And you’ll take to the sky

    But till that morning
    There’s a’nothing can harm you
    With daddy and mamma standing by

  12. The Merry Widow (German: Die lustige Witwe) is an operetta by the Austro-Hungarian composer Franz Lehár. The librettists, Viktor Léon and Leo Stein, based the story – concerning a rich widow, and her countrymen’s attempt to keep her money in the principality by finding her the right husband – on an 1861 comedy play, L’attaché d’ambassade (The Embassy Attaché) by Henri Meilhac.

Sources

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