Dvorak's Stabat Mater

I'll be the first to admit that I know practically nothing about choral works. I guess it's the part of me that is my father's daughter, to not really be interested in that kind of music. But this afternoon I ventured to Carnegie Hall to see Antonin Dvorak's Stabat Mater, simply because I wanted to see what the buzz was all about with Angela Meade, who's being whispered among hard-core opera fans as the next Sutherland/Caballe/Callas/Sills all rolled into one.

Without knowing much about choral works, it seems to me that Dvorak's Stabat Mater is more instrumental than vocal, with the chorus and soloists acting as another instrument, so to speak. The New York Choral Society and Brooklyn Philharmonic sounded absolutely stunning at Carnegie Hall, maybe the best acoustic hall I've ever stepped in -- sounds are so vivid, as if they were literally buzzing next to your ear. The melodies of Stabat Mater seem more romantic and less formally religious. But again, I really shouldn't comment too much about the music, since it my first time hearing it.

How were the soloists? Well I have this theory that everyone sounds great in Carnegie Hall -- it's such a perfectly designed hall, and voices sound larger, richer, and riper there than anywhere else. That being said, it's clear that Angela Meade has a major league voice. It's bright, it soars over the orchestra and chorus, just a gorgeous sound. The glow of her voice really made her sound celestial. She really might be the next bright hope for dramatic coloratura sopranos. I look forward to her Anna Bolena next year at the Met, a role she will be sharing with Anna Netrebko. Yeghishe Manucharyan, an Armenian tenor, had a pleasant lyric tenor that just occasionally sounded metallic and nasal. Tamara Mumford was the alto and she was stuck with the most formal, least interesting solo of the piece. She was one of the Rheinmaidens this year -- her voice is definitely rich and plummy, a real mezzo. She's also a striking looking woman. Barak Bilgili rounded out the quartet as the bass, and he was maybe the weak link? His bass just didn't have the resonance I associate with this fach, and often sounded hollow and inaudible.

Overall I was glad I went, even though choral works are still not my cup of tea in general. But the four soloists are promising artists, and as always, sitting in Carnegie Hall is a thrill. I especially love how in the lobby there's an autographed photograph of this nobody named Tchaikovsky.


  1. Ivy, I so wanted to be at this concert. It is a beautiful piece to sing as a chorister, and even listening would have been satisfying for me, in addition to hearing the soprano and tenor as well. I'm glad you were able to hear it for both of us. It is one of the pieces I feel you can wring the emotion out of it is so romantic. I enjoyed your report.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Summer Diaries: Funny Girl, How I Learned To Drive, Rigoletto

Fedora: A Good Bad Opera

Camelot: Knight Errors