SSO and Sara Macliver at Angel Place


These are the resuscitated remains of an old and previously abandoned post on SSO’s concert in April at Angel Place with soloist, Sara Macliver. The above is a (possibly felonious) pre-concert shot of the auditorium filling up.

Rinaldo: Overture and arias
Samson: Overture and ‘Let the
bright seraphim’

Mitridate: Overture
Non so d’onde viene’, K294
Four Minuets from K585
The Magic Flute: ‘Ach ich fühl’s
Vorrei spiegarvi, oh Dio!’, K418

Michael Dauth violin-director
Sara Macliver soprano

Michael Dauth handed over the concert-introducing duties to principal violist, Roger Benedict (who seems to like this sort of thing: he’s one of those orchestra members who is always coming to attention, a bit like Tim White at the WASO). Dauth looked a lot more comfortable as a result.

In a way it was a bit unadventurous for the SSO to have programmed 3 arias from Rinaldo as this is an opera performed relatively recently in Sydney and on the last occasion directed by no less a luminary than Trevor Pinnock. Those were hard shoes for the unconducted SSO to fill, and especially, I felt, for the harpsichordist, Anthony Hamad, who had to play Mr Handel’s celebrated concertante interpolations to Almida’s rage aria (an act closer) as published shortly after the first performances. I remember these with Pinnock culminating in a mammoth and virtuoso cadenza. I saw something like this at the bottom of the second last page of the aria in the harpsichordist’s score, but I don’t think I heard it. Mr Hamad, in a late comment below, tells me that I am wrong to suggest that any notes in the score weren’t played.

Emma Matthews and Rachelle Durkin are also hard acts to follow. Compared to them, Sara’s emotional and vocal/tonal range seemed rather narrow. Although something was made of promised high notes in the program note (one of which I kept my ear out for and failed to detect – this could be an edition thing), I wouldn’t say Sara has a really high voice at all – it is easy to think of her voice as high because of the clear and true way she sings. This made her choice of the Queen of the Night’s aria (‘Ach ich fühl’s’) problematic.

6 Responses to “SSO and Sara Macliver at Angel Place”

  1. While I’ve been away – Ten concerts « Stumbling on melons Says:

    […] The Thursday before the arrival of my sister (recorded in my last post), I went to the SSO’s Mozart in the City series at Angel Place. In the interests of keeping this post to a manageable length the remaining scraps of what I have to say about that are here. […]

  2. primalamusica Says:

    Allow me to join the growing chorus of joy: so glad you’re back. But if you will forgive my pedantry: it’s Sara Macliver (not McIver), and Rachelle (not Sarah) Durkin. Also, and of course I know you know this, “Ach ich fühl’s” is Pamina’s aria, not the Queen of the Night’s. I feel slightly guilty about offering this as a welcome back. You really have been missed.

    • marcellous Says:

      So it is: serves me right for just clicking and pasting a title. My only excuse is that as a price of resuming blogging I have accepted a more slapdash approach.

      And also serves me right for posting so long after the event. I don’t know why I was thinking she’d sung a Queen of the Night aria because there is none in the program. It was the last aria which was really the focus of my thoughts about high register Mozart and the reference to the Queen of the Night was a totally synthetic memory based on that and the inclusion of another aria from Die Z.

      And as to McIver/Macliver, that’s just amazing! I was so busy checking Sara without an “h” (not Lisa with an “s”) that I did not notice, and more chronically, have never noticed that sneaky “l.” And I have been reading her name in programs for at least ten years. It’s a bit like those childishly misheard lyrics – I’m sure you can provide your own examples for that.

  3. Thom Says:

    Australian sons and ostriches!
    (My own little mondegreen, fondly cherished from age 4 to 9.)

  4. Anthony Hamad Says:

    Dear Marcellous,

    I played everything on the score – with one weeks notice mind you, on top of getting ready for my first honours recital and other performances! I’m sure Trevor Pinnock (who is triple my age) added extra to the cadenzas-that’s what your meant to do. And I didn’t have a harpsichordists score I played off the full score – figured bass and all. When you become privileged enough to play with the SSO at age 20 (and the ACO) – get back to me.

    Yours Sincerely,

    Anthony Hamad.

  5. marcellous Says:

    Mr Hamad

    I do recall that you played from a full score, figured bass and all. Harpsichordists are expected to be able to play from figured bass, right?

    I’m a bit shocked to hear that you were given such short notice, but them’s the breaks. Did you step in to take somebody else’s place or was the SSO simply slack?

    I don’t think you need be so offended (as you seem to be) that I suggested that Mr Pinnock’s shoes were rather big ones to fill. I guess you didn’t have the chance to add [which begs the question as to whether notes not in the score for Handel should be thought ot as additions rather than, say, realisations] as much as he was able to, and I didn’t know (as one generally doesn’t) how much else you had on. Thanks for fitting us in! Perhaps the program notes and my memory of Pinnock’s bravura act-closing number in the OA production raised my expectations unduly.

    Unfortunately, I shall never be 20 again, so I guess I shouldn’t be getting back to you in this fashion. I wish you every success in your future career, and a happy 21st birthday, if I’m not too late.

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