ICE Classic: Edita Gruberova – vocal culture and elegance, or the Slovakian queen of bel canto in Krakow

Edita Gruberová, star of world opera, performed at the ICE Kraków Congress Centre as part of the prestigious ICE Classic cycle. This was only the second performance by this famous artist in Krakow. The first took place years ago, when the Slovakian soprano visited our city with a student orchestra. Tuesday’s concert was also part of the cultural events within Slovakia’s Presidency in the Council European Council. The artist was accompanied by the incomparable Beethoven Academy Orchestra, under the leadership of Slovak conductor Peter Valentovic. In 2013, the Maestro debuted at the Theater an der Wien, leading a gala concert with Edita Gruberová.

The evening’s programme consisted of the most beautiful parts of Italian bel canto operas. The concert started with the famous overture to The Barber of Seville by Gioacchini Rossini, which the orchestra played with all the nerve it deserved. The Krakow audience welcomed the Slovakian diva with applause. The soprano, dressed in a silvery dress, sang Linda’s aria from act I of O luce di quest’anima by Gaetano Donizetti, immediately enchanting the audience with wonderful pianos and delicate coloraturas. Another aria, which many admirers of the singer’s talent eagerly awaited, was the aria from Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor. It was Lucia that established Gruberová’s greatest successes. We heard the famous aria from act III, “Il dolce suono mi colpi di sua voce” (The sweet sound of his voice struck me), in which Lucia says farewell to the mundane world – at the news of the death of her beloved Edgar, she commits suicide. The performance was expressive, full of intense emotions and Gruberová delighted not only with the virtuoso ornaments that competed with the sounds of the flute, but also provided real emotions. The first part of the concert ended with a fragment from the third part of Donizetti’s Elizabethan triptych, the opera Robert Devereux. We heard the overture from the opera, as well as Elizabeth’s aria from act I, “L’amor suo mi fe’beata… Ah! Ritorna qual ti spero”. After the break, the brilliantly playing Beethoven Academy Orchestra took us into the world of Vincenzo Bellini’s Norma. Edita Gruberová, this time wearing a red-and-gold gown, performed the famous cavatina “Casta diva” with the greatest care. “Meditation” from Jules Massenet’s Thaïs, intended for solo violin and orchestra, was a beautiful and charmingly sentimental interlude. At the end of the meeting with Gruberová’s vocal genius, we heard a masterful performance of Elvira’s aria – “Vien, diletto, e in ciel la luna” from act II of Bellini’s I Puritani. 

To say that Edita Gruberová delighted the Krakow audience is definitely not enough. The Slovakia soprano simply enchanted listeners with the emotions (of various shades) she expressed. On stage, she presented not only an amazing vocal condition, which can be envied by many of her much younger colleagues, but also vocal culture, elegance and attention to the smallest detail. Not surprisingly, the evening ended with multiple, long standing ovations. The charismatic artist performed three encores, including the aria “Signore Ascolta!” from Giacomo Puccini’s Turandot and the bravura aria “Spiel Ich die Unschuld” from Johann Strauss Die Fledermaus. After the performance, the queen of bel canto found the time to autograph her records.

fot. Michał Ramus

fot. Michał Ramus

 

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