Dutch National Opera / Amsterdam Sinfonietta / Geoffrey Paterson

Ritratto

Price: € 22.95
Format: CD
Label: Challenge Classics
UPC: 0608917284928
Catnr: CC 72849
Release date: 02 October 2020
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Label
Challenge Classics
UPC
0608917284928
Catalogue number
CC 72849
Release date
02 October 2020

"Jehts's story about the meaning and purpose of art is a powerful and accomplished piece of music theatre. (...) ... Verity Wingate is compelling as Luisa, and Paride Cataldo's posturing D'Annunzio all but steals the show. Laurels, too, for Geoffrey Paterson who conducts the Amsterdam Sinfonietta with complete conviction."

BBC Music Magazine, 21-1-2021
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About the album

“I wish to be a living work of art,” reads the famous comment made by Luisa Casati, the extravagant marchesa who drew everyone's attention to herself as a high society personality in the early 20th century and who inspired a number of leading artists to take up their writing pens, paintbrushes and cameras: Casati was the most prolifically portrayed woman of her age. She was both Muse and Maecenas who gathered an extensive coterie of famous artists around herself – an egregious set of people, some of whom were also her lovers, including Gabriele D’Annunzio, Man Ray, Filippo Marinetti, Kees van Dongen, Giovanni Boldini and Romaine Brooks. The Russian designer Léon Bakst dressed her in the most exotic of costumes.

She led a split existence. On the one hand, she turned herself into a living work of art and organised grotesque parties as the backdrops to her own performances; on the other hand, she commissioned artists to immortalise her as a “piece of art” – and artists were queuing up at her door as she had enormous wealth at her fingertips to realise these whims.

In the opera, Casati’s biography is compressed into a single party evening at her Venetian palazzo. Over seven scenes, we see a melange of events from the heroine’s life that actually occurred over many decades, to which the creators then added their own dreamed-up plot. Jeths’s palette as a composer has become ever richer and more dramatic as the years have passed. His spectrum ranges from attention to sound and colour to a subtle use of harmonic tension. His musical language was originally more atonal, but he has always flirted with tonality. And now more than ever, his notes are at the service of the text, the theatrical impression and the beauty of the human voice. In his music, Jeths employs multiple references to existing music.
Dit is het tweede album dat Challenge Classics uitbrengt met werk van de toonaangevende Nederlandse componist Willem Jeths. Na het eerdere album van Jeths met symfonische muziek gaat het dit keer om Ritratto, zijn meest recente opera. Ritratto is het Italiaanse woord voor portret. Jeths was gefascineerd door een schilderij van Luisa Casati, de dame die centraal staat in deze mooie opera.

Ritratto wordt hier prachtig uitgevoerd door Amsterdam Sinfonietta onder leiding van Geoffrey Paterson. De Nationale Opera nam de uitvoering live op en het is een ware publiekstrekker. Tijdens de lockdown was de videoregistratie een groot succes en weer gespeeld in het theater zorgt de opera voor uitverkochte zalen.

Jeths' compositorische palet is in de loop der jaren breder en dramatischer geworden, variërend van een voorliefde voor detail in geluid en kleur tot subtiele harmonische spanning. Zijn muzikale taal was oorspronkelijk atonaal, maar hij flirtte altijd met tonale klanken. En nu, meer dan ooit, staan zijn tonen ten dienste van de tekst, de theatrale indruk en de schoonheid van de menselijke stem. De muziek van Willem Jeths is zeer toegankelijk en doordrenkt met verwijzingen naar de muziek uit het tijdperk van Ravel en Strauss.

De opera draait om de legendarische Luisa Casati, een puissant rijke Italiaanse erfgename, mecenas en mode-icoon. Zij behoorde aan het begin van de twintigste eeuw tot de high society van Europa en was in die tijd de muze van vele grote kunstenaars. Ze leidde een woest leven in Parijs, Venetië en Rome. Luisa had onder anderen een turbulente verhouding met de Italiaanse schrijver, dichter en politicus Gabriele d’Annunzio. De Russische schilder Léon Bakst, vooral bekend van zijn decors en kostuums van de eerste uitvoeringen van de Ballets Russes, ontwierp exotische jurken voor haar. Onder haar motto “Ik wil een levend kunstwerk zijn, liet ze zich veelvuldig portretteren, door kunstenaars als Kees van Dongen, Man Ray en Giovanni Boldini. Willem Jeths werd door een tentoonstelling in Venetië van alle portretten van Luisa Casati geïnspireerd tot het schrijven van Ritratto.

In de opera wordt de biografie van Luisa Casati gecomprimeerd tot één feestavond in haar Venetiaanse palazzo. In zeven scènes komt er een melange aan gebeurtenissen uit haar leven voorbij. Gebeurtenissen die in werkelijkheid vele decennia beslaan, waaraan de makers een gefantaseerde plot toevoegen. Het gemaskerde bal wordt gehouden aan de vooravond van wat de Eerste Wereldoorlog zal worden. Iedereen is er D’Annunzio, Sergej Diaghilev, Jacob Epstein, Man Ray, Filippo Marinetti, Kees van Dongen, gasten die nooit allemaal tegelijk in één ruimte bij elkaar waren geweest. Opeens duikt Casati’s voormalige minnares Romaine Brooks op, met een waarschuwing: de oorlog is uitgebroken, en ze wil dat het exorbitante feest onmiddellijk stopt. Casati doet alsof ze de waarschuwing niet hoort. En dan volgt er een onwaarschijnlijke afloop. Casati zal zichzelf de ogen uitsteken, de opera slaat compleet om en er volgt een spirituele transformatie.

„Ich möchte ein lebendiges Kunstwerk sein“, so der berühmte Kommentar von Luisa Casati, der extravaganten Marchesa, die am Anfang des 20. Jahrhunderts als High Society-Persönlichkeit alle Aufmerksamkeit auf sich zog und zahlreiche führende Künstler dazu inspirierte, sich ihren Federhaltern, Pinseln oder Kameras zuzuwenden: Casati war die wohl am öftesten portraitierte Frau ihrer Zeit. Sie war sowohl Muse als auch Mäzenin, die einen weiten Kreis berühmter Künstler um sich scharte – eine ungeheuerliche Gruppe an Leuten, von denen manche auch ihre Liebhaber waren, einschließlich Gabriele D’Annunzio, Man Ray, Filippo Marinetti, Kees van Dongen, Giovanni Boldini und Romaine Brooks. Der russische Designer Léon Bakst kleidete sie in die exotischsten Kostüme.

Sie führte ein geteiltes Leben. Einerseits machte sie ich zum lebendigen Kunstwerk und organisierte groteske Partys als Hintergrund ihrer eigenen Auftritte, andererseits beauftragte sie Künstler, sie als „Kunstwerk“ zu verewigen. Und die Künstler standen bei ihr Schlange, da sie ein enormes Vermögen zur Verfügung hatte, um diese Launen in die Tat umzusetzen.

In der Oper wird Casatis Biographie zu einem einzigen Partyabend in ihrem venezianischen Palazzo konzentriert. In sieben Szenen sieht man eine Melange von Ereignissen aus dem Leben der Heldin, die sich in Wirklichkeit über viele Jahrzehnte erstrecken, denen die Urheber des Werkes dann ihren eigenen, ausgedachten Handlungsablauf hinzufügen. Jeths‘ kompositorische Palette ist über die Jahre breiter und dramatischer geworden und reicht von Detailfreude bei Klang und Farbe hin zu subtiler harmonischer Spannung. Seine musikalische Sprache war ursprünglich atonaler, doch er flirtete schon immer mit tonalen Klängen. Und jetzt stehen seine Töne mehr denn je im Dienste des Textes, der theatralischen Impression und der Schönheit der menschlichen Stimme. In seiner Musik bezieht Jeths sich zudem viele Male auf bereits existierende Werke.

Artist(s)

Amsterdam Sinfonietta

Amsterdam Sinfonietta has occupied a unique position as the only professional string orchestra in the Netherlands for the past 25 years. Founded in 1988, with Lev Markiz as its first artistic director, the ensemble has performed throughout the world, touring Europe, China, the United States and Australia. It has appeared at major venues sich as the Barbican Hall in London, Cité de la Musique in Paris, the National Centre of Performing Arts in Beijing and the Berlin Konzerthaus. The ensemble comprises 22 string players who perform under the leadership of its concertmaster and artistic leader Candida Thompson. This approach to music- making without a conductor is what distinguishes the group from ‘regular’ chamber orchestras. It calls for an extremely intense degree...
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Amsterdam Sinfonietta has occupied a unique position as the only professional string orchestra in the Netherlands for the past 25 years. Founded in 1988, with Lev Markiz as its first artistic director, the ensemble has performed throughout the world, touring Europe, China, the United States and Australia. It has appeared at major venues sich as the Barbican Hall in London, Cité de la Musique in Paris, the National Centre of Performing Arts in Beijing and the Berlin Konzerthaus.
The ensemble comprises 22 string players who perform under the leadership of its concertmaster and artistic leader Candida Thompson. This approach to music- making without a conductor is what distinguishes the group from ‘regular’ chamber orchestras. It calls for an extremely intense degree of involvement from all the musicians. The repertoire covers a variety of styles, extending from the Baroque repertoire to contemporary works. Alongside performances of mainstream repertoire, the orchestra frequently champions unjustly neglected or new works. Amsterdam Sinfonietta has recently premièred compositions by David Matthews, Michel van der Aa, Kate Moore, Tigran Mansurian and Peteris Vasks. Leading composers such as Thomas Larcher, Rozalie Hirs and Sofia Gubaidulina are currently composing new works commissioned by Amsterdam Sinfonietta.
The ensemble has gained a reputation for creating highly innovative programmes; its trademark versatility recently earned it the prestigious classical music prize De Ovatie [The Ovation] in 2013. It frequently presents original and compelling combinations of works, initiates surprising collaborations and embraces groundbreaking concepts involving video art, dance or theatre. Amsterdam Sinfonietta has worked with a host of internationally renowned musicians, such as Sergei Khachatryan, Barbara Hannigan, Thomas Hampson, David Fray, Janine Jansen, Dejan Lazic, Steven Isselis, Isabelle Faust, Alexander Melnikov, Nino Gvetadze, Christianne Stotijn, Bobby McFerrin and Wende Snijders.
Amsterdam Sinfonietta’s educational KleuterSinfonietta performances are enjoyed by thousands of young children in the Netherlands each year. It also organises the Sinfonietta Strijkersdagen [Sinfonietta String Players Days], giving young musicians the opportunity to participate in workshops and perform in public in specially formed string orchestras.
Within the past decade Amsterdam Sinfonietta has produced an impressive array of CDs under Candida Thompson’s leadership, in collaboration with the high-quality Channel Classics label. These include ‘The Mahler Album’ (2011), ‘Britten’ (2013) and ‘Shostakovich & Weinberg’ (2013). ‘The Argentinian Album’ was released in October 2014. Recently the orchestra has also recorded CDs for labels such as ECM, Sony Classical and Deutsche Grammophon.
During the last few seasons Amsterdam Sinfonietta has undertaken international tours with Sol Gabetta, Patricia Kopatchinskaja and Martin Fröst. In early 2014 it joined forces with the American baritone Thomas Hampson, performing a unique song programme in twelve concert halls across Europe. Upcoming projects include a tour of Japan and concerts in the Benelux, Germany and Austria with the cellist Jean-Guihen Queyras.

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Dutch National Opera

De Nationale Opera (DNO) is the Netherlands’ largest opera company and is based in the Nationale Opera & Ballet in Amsterdam (formerly known as The Amsterdam Music Theatre). DNO has grown into one of Europe’s most prominent and progressive opera companies. Until February 17, 2014 the company operated under the name De Nederlandse Opera. To start at 2013 Els van der Plas is the general director of De Nederlandse Opera, Dutch National Ballet and the music theatre. In 1998 Pierre Audi became artistic director of the company, who formed a successful team together with administrative director Truze Lodder. Since January 1, 2013, Audi is director of De Nationale Opera. In September 2018 he will be succeeded by Sophie de Lint. DNO produces...
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De Nationale Opera (DNO) is the Netherlands’ largest opera company and is based in the Nationale Opera & Ballet in Amsterdam (formerly known as The Amsterdam Music Theatre). DNO has grown into one of Europe’s most prominent and progressive opera companies. Until February 17, 2014 the company operated under the name De Nederlandse Opera. To start at 2013 Els van der Plas is the general director of De Nederlandse Opera, Dutch National Ballet and the music theatre.
In 1998 Pierre Audi became artistic director of the company, who formed a successful team together with administrative director Truze Lodder. Since January 1, 2013, Audi is director of De Nationale Opera. In September 2018 he will be succeeded by Sophie de Lint.
DNO produces music theatre productions at the highest international level, with a clear focus on artistic quality, diversity and innovation. The sixty member Koor van De Nederlandse Opera contributes significantly to this success.
Examples of DNO’s audacious programming include the first Dutch staging of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen and the operas of Claudio Monteverdi. The majority of the performances are given in The Amsterdam Music Theatre, but operas are occasionally staged in other venues, including the Stadsschouwburg Amsterdam, Koninklijk Theater Carré, on the grounds of the Westergasfabriek and in the Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ.
DNO typically realizes eleven opera productions each season, with an average attendance of 96% capacity. In order to reach a wider audience, most productions are broadcast live on radio and several productions per year are televised. DNO also regularly organizes supplemental activities at other venues and via new media. In addition, many of DNO’s opera productions have been issued on DVD.
DNO performs regularly in opera houses and on festivals abroad. For instance, the company was a guest at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, on the Lincoln Festival in New York, the Adelaide Festival in Australia, the Salzburger Festspiele and in Luxembourg, Tokio and Valencia as well.

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Geoffrey Paterson (conductor)

Composer(s)

Willem Jeths

Willem Jeths' musical language has become gradually less atonal over the years. His most recent compositions even have a prominent ground tone. Densely orchestrated sound blocks rub along one another and overlap in an idiom that might remind one more of Ligeti or Rihm than a typical composer of the Dutch school. It is worth noting that Willem Jeths won two prices at the 1996 International Composition Competition in Vienna, for his violin concert Glenz and for his Piano Concerto. The jury included Wolfgang Rihm, Gerard Grisey, Franco Donatoni, Lothar Knessl and Friedrich Cerha - composers who, like Jeths, are intensely attuned to sound as an aspect of composition. Jeths also won the ''Amsterdamprijs voor de kunst'' for his ouvre...
more

Willem Jeths' musical language has become gradually less atonal over the years. His most recent compositions even have a prominent ground tone. Densely orchestrated sound blocks rub along one another and overlap in an idiom that might remind one more of Ligeti or Rihm than a typical composer of the Dutch school. It is worth noting that Willem Jeths won two prices at the 1996 International Composition Competition in Vienna, for his violin concert Glenz and for his Piano Concerto. The jury included Wolfgang Rihm, Gerard Grisey, Franco Donatoni, Lothar Knessl and Friedrich Cerha - composers who, like Jeths, are intensely attuned to sound as an aspect of composition. Jeths also won the ''Amsterdamprijs voor de kunst'' for his ouvre in 2014. Although a work by Willem Jeths might suggest the existence of a clear-cut plan, forms and structures fade to the background during the composition process. Jeths is driven by spirit and fancy, unfettered by predetermined routes or goals. Because he is so conscious of the basic material, the resulting form, individual and personal, appears to the listener as a taut, consistent concept that unifies the piece. This apparently contradiction, in which aesthetics and working method seem to collide, remains one of the most intriguing aspects, both musically and personally, of Willem Jeths.


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Press

Jehts's story about the meaning and purpose of art is a powerful and accomplished piece of music theatre. (...) ... Verity Wingate is compelling as Luisa, and Paride Cataldo's posturing D'Annunzio all but steals the show. Laurels, too, for Geoffrey Paterson who conducts the Amsterdam Sinfonietta with complete conviction.
BBC Music Magazine, 21-1-2021

Sixty-one-year-old Dutch composer Willem Jeths knows how to surprise, as always. He is a real chameleon, and he adapts different styles very easily.
Luister, 04-12-2020

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