Anna Caterina Antonacci is a miracle: at over fifty she is a bella donna, fesity and sexy. But more importantly for music lovers, is that her voice is wonderfully intact, and her technique and assuredness on stage is more in place now than twenty years ago. Richard Morrison in The Times reviews her Wigmore Hall recital thus:
The voice, a dark lustrous instrument that can be soprano or mezzo with equal ardour, is clearly in magnificent shape. The histrionics are undimmed but never unhinged: this is a thinking artist, not a sulky diva. And the appetite for adventure is still sharp. This recital delved into the rarer realms of French and Italian romantic art-songs with enchanting results.
True, the mood mostly ranged from uneasy melancholy to full-on suicidal. Few songs failed to hammer home the message that life is rarely a bouquet of roses. Indeed, even Dickens’s celebrated description of Little Nell’s demise would sound dispassionate compared with the purple-patched ditties by Francesco Tosti — purveyor of maudlin parlour-songs to Queen Victoria and all her dominions.
But Antonacci never made the mistake of larding sentimentality on already overripe material. Just as Respighi, in his Sopra un’aria antica, contains the explosive passions of Gabriele d’Annunzio’s poetry within a limpid, quasi-Baroque world, so Antonacci emotes from within a pristine technique. Her legato line is a liquid wonder, but when the poem requires a conversation to be animated, she characterises each voice in a marvellously deft parlando.
via The Times
Graham Spicer is a writer, director and photographer in Milan, blogging (under the name ‘Gramilano’) about dance, opera, music and photography for people “who are a bit like me and like some of the things I like”. He was a regular columnist for Opera Now magazine and wrote for the BBC until transferring to Italy.
His scribblings have appeared in various publications from Woman’s Weekly to Gay Times, and he wrote the ‘Danza in Italia’ column for Dancing Times magazine.