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Subject: Re: Benjamin Bernheim Recital, Bordeaux 18 Jan 2018
From: DK Conn <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:DK Conn <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Thu, 25 Jan 2018 14:28:18 -0500
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Thank you for the detailed review, I will be sure to watch the concert.  I
have heard very good things about Bernheim and look forward to hearing him
in person.  The Chicago Faust will be his US debut.
DK


On Thu, 25 Jan 2018 08:00:59 -0700, Donald Levine <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

>Last week, on Thursday, Jan 18, young French tenor Benjamin Bernheim gave a
>wonderful recital at the Grand-Theatre de Bordeaux.  It was the first time
>I was able to really hear him and a wonderful recital it was.  It was
>actually his debut solo recital.  The repertoire was entirely French
>consisting of songs of Duparc, Gounod & Faure with arias from Manon, Romeo
>et Juliette, Les Contes d'Hoffmann and Carmen.  His collaborator was
>pianist Florence Boissolle and expert and expressive she was.
>
>As this was his first solo recital, a bit of nervousness at the beginning
>quickly vanished as he settled down and became more at home.  His demeanor
>in the song s was serious and a bit stiff.  He opened up and seemed more at
>home with the operatic selections.  The songs were Duparc: L'Invitation au
>voyage, Phidyle, La Vie anterieure, Gounod: L'Absent, Faure: Au cimitiere,
>Chanson d'amour, Larmes and Puisque jai mis ma levre a ta coupe.  Following
>were excerpts from Manon, en fermand les yeux, Je suis seul...Ah fuyez,
>Werther, Pourquoi me reveiller, Romeo et Juliette, Ah, leve-toi soleil,
>C'est la!...Salut tombeau, Carmen La fleur que tu m'avais jetee, from Les
>Contes d'Hoffman La Legende de Kleinzach and finally a smoldering final
>duet from Carmen with mezzo-soprano Aude Extremo.
>
>The songs were sensitively and beautifully performed with just the right
>balance of tonal beauty, dynamic control and attention to the words. The
>arias showed a passionate singer with no problems at any part of his
>voice.  The top was true and well placed.  The tone never pushed to
>extremes.  He has a marvelous control over his voice and the sound is
>beautiful.  It is a French tenor in the best sense of the words.  I was
>particularly taken with the Kleinzach.  I've never quite heard it performed
>as he did or I should say, they did.  His accompanist Florence Boissolle
>who did a wonderful job also sang/spoke some of the lines and rejoinders
>and the effect of her playing and turning her head and taking part was
>novel and to say the least, unexpected.  Finally, he was joined by
>mezzo-soprano Aude Extremo, whom I've never heard but she was a damn good
>Carmen.  Passionate but never vulgar.  A good match for his Jose.  Like her
>Jose, she was good looking and had a nice presence.  I would like to hear
>her again.   Her rep includes major roles from Rossini  (she's doing
>Semiramide soon), Dalila, Venus through Verdi, Amneris.  She also sings
>more lyric roles.
>
>If you can get Medici TV, this concert will be available until April 18,
>2018.  As for Benjamin Bernheim, his season includes  Rodolfo in Boheme at
>the Royal Opera,   Nemorino in Vienna in February, his Lyric Opera debut as
>Faust in March, a concert in Paris with Olga Peretyako, Alfredo in Berlin
>and Zurich and other concerts.  He has yet to sing at the Met.  I think his
>Faust at the Lyric might actually be his American debut.
>
>Try to catch this recital on Medici.  I think he is a really great
>additional to the scene.  I love hearing a tenor who sings French to the
>manner born (obviously) with as much voice and musicianship as Bernheim.
>It was exciting to discover him, the same way I felt about 25 years ago
>when I first heard Roberto Alagna at the Theatre de Champs Elysees in Paris
>- when I first heard Alagna, I was absolutely thrilled at the discover of a
>great tenor.
>
>If you have never been there, the Grand-Theatre de Bordeaux is one of the
>most beautiful opera houses in the world (certainly in France), maybe the
>most beautiful.  Built by Victor Louis in 1780, it not only was the model
>for Charles Garnier when he designed the Palais Garnier in Paris but is I
>think the only major opera house in Europe from the 18th century and early
>19th that has never burned down or been destroyed.  It is a jewel box of an
>auditorium set amid one of the great classical buildings of France.
>Definitely worth a detour and not only because Bordeaux is the center of
>the greatest vineyards in the world, but also a graceful beautiful city
>with a magnificent 17th and 18th century core that has been marvelously
>preserved and the riverfront on the Garonne is lined with fabulous
>buildings.  Its almost a mini-Paris in parts.  For the most part, it
>survived WW2 intact.  Also of interest are the great WW2 U Boat pens in the
>port.  These massive concrete bunkers have survived because they were too
>massive strong to be economically demolished.  They are quite a site (in
>the port, north of the city center).
>
>
>Donald
>

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