IOAN HOLENDER FAREWELL CONCERT
Top names, incomparable musicality – A gala of superlatives
After 19 years at the head of the Vienna State Opera, Ioan Holender stepped down in June 2010 – and was acclaimed with a musical tribute of unparalleled verve and splendor. Gathered together on the stage of the Vienna State Opera were the crème de la crème of international vocalists, stars who had appeared in productions at the State Opera over the past years and had come to bid a rousing farewell to their mentor/father-figure/friend Holender. All proceeds from this benefit gala went to a charity in Moldova.
Providing the musical backbone of the concert event are the Chorus and Orchestra of the Vienna State Opera, performing under a succession of distinguished conductors such as Zubin Mehta, Bertrand de Billy, Marco Armiliato, Fabio Luisi, Peter Schneider, Guillermo Garcia Calvo, Antonio Pappano and the Vienna State Opera's new General Music Director, Franz Welser-Möst. Among the musical pearls strung together by the evening's illustrious singers are an excerpt from "Manon" sung ravishingly and flirtatiously by Anna Netrebko, and a powerful "Winterstürme" from Wagner's "Walküre" performed by living legend Plácido Domingo.
Coloraturas of breathtaking virtuosity and unrivaled softness are tossed off with lightness by soprano Diana Damrau in an aria from Bellini's "La sonnambula." Her colleague Natalie Dessay opts instead for a more robust but equally glittering aria from Donizetti's "La fille du regiment." Lyricism is entrusted to the able voices of Piotr Beczala, with his excerpt from Massenet's "Werther," and Thomas Hampson in an aria from Rossini's "Guillaume Tell." Also gracing the stage are Thomas Quasthoff, Ferruccio Furlanetto, Simon Keenlyside and other opera giants of today. Led by Franz Welser-Möst, a roster of top names joins forces in what is perhaps the "starriest" interpretation ever of Verdi's "Tutto nel mondo è burla" from "Falstaff." "A farewell gala that people will be talking about for a long time," wrote the Vienna daily "Kurier."