Magdalena Kožená makes her Philharmonic debut
...Friday night's concert, featuring the Philharmonic debut of mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kožená was squarely in the Romantic era, pairing the song cycle Les nuits d'été by Hector Berlioz with Rimksy-Korsakov's Scheherazade, a cross between a four-movement symphony and a violin concerto with the spotlight squarely on the conductor and his concertmaster, Frank Huang.
Ms. Kožená's performance of the six songs was warmly received and with good reason. Despite her lower register, her instrument was ideal for the optimism of "Villanelle" and brought a tone of languor and longing that Berlioz called for in "La spectre de la rose." Here, she sang astonishing low notes when necessary and carried the narrative of the songs up into the higher aether when required. She was committed and passionate throughout, and her performance of the dirge-like Sur les lagunes drew a first round of warm applause from the assembled...
© Paul J. Pelkonen