Marie-Nicole Lemieux, accompanied by the Orchester Philharmonique de Radio France under the baton of Adrien Perruchon, performs for the first time in Aix-en-Provence, with pleasure, warmth and complicity.
The Québécois contralto appears on stage, between symphonic pieces high in color and intensity, within a festive program of an original coherence. The opera, its overtures and airs of bravery, the ballet and its choreographic suites, the sacred song and its popular roots, seem to have been assembled, by the singer and her conductor, to address the public of Aix and to deeply vibrate the Provençal territory. In fact, excerpts from Rossini, Gounod and Bizetand less famous authors – Max Reger, Adolf Adam – and still others, who have signed Christmas carols engraved in everyone’s childhood memories, light the garland of a musical tree.
Whether Marie-Nicole Lemieux appears in majesty and black dress in the first part, she returns in the second part, at the time of hymns, in a dress spangled with red and small green fir trees in earrings, showing by a few gestures and accomplice words, her intention to celebrate , for the time of a recital, a Christmas that puts her back in her childhood emotions in Quebec. She cannot prevent herself, she says, from having a dialogue with the public, announcing to them to begin with, her joy of singing for the first time in Aix-en-Provence. Follows a carousel of words, gestures, mimicry, of the order of the pantomime, in particular with the conductor, by which she plays with happiness on the codes of the classical concert. The conductor sings in echo to some of her phrases, outlines a dance with her, directs the audience, holds back the orchestra to oppose the singer’s silences, like a true accomplice worthy of the commedia dell’arte.
The Quebec contralto installs the starting point of a full, ample and modulated voice at the front of the orchestra. Her different registers, which she deploys with ease, tell sometimes earthy stories or celebrate the Nativity.. She peppers her parts with facial expressions, gestures and rolls – suggestive or ecstatic – depending on the program, in order to build real characters. Each entry into the music is prepared by his smiling and contemplative face, his statuary posture, which is then enlivened by large generous gestures. They draw her vocal parts in space, and echo the striking and untimely modulations of dynamics, register and vibratos that the singer gives to her scores.
The rare and striking timbre of its bass does not prevent the singer from projecting solid treble towards the hangers. She knows how to get to the heart of the luminous darkness of her tessitura, often raising her eyes to the sky. The golden grain of his voice sprinkled for the opera with sudden projections fortissimo and long outfits legatois praline to sing traditional Christmas carols, in several languages. The angels of our campaigns takes place, at the request of the singer, in a game of questions and answers with the public who, playing the game, are warmly applauded by the musicians. ” It’s perfect “ she says !
The direction of the chief Adrian Perruchon expresses himself with great gestural naturalness, as if speaking with his hands with the orchestra. Even its large movements of rotation or expansion, do not depart from a certain rigor. The dynamics are balanced, especially in the contrasts and the crescendos of timbre and rhythm that the pages of the program claim in their festive sonic garb, from the large soaring tracks to the tight fanfares and sparkling suites.
Following the warm and pressing request for an encore from the public, the diva offers, from her childhood memories, a capital version, sumptuously orchestrated and lyrical, of Small Santa to fill the program and the holiday spirit.
recording of the concert on Radio France:
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Marie-Nicole Lemieux in Aix-en-Provence: a hymn to Santa Claus – News – Ôlyrix
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