Chromatics a la Car

No, not chromatics a la carte (ie each having our own selection) – which is possibly what Jim heard us singing at rehearsal last night, but a la Car, Nicole Car to be precise.

Returning from another stunning concert this afternoon by the ACO, I was struck by three points of resonance with Manly Warringah Choir’s forthcoming concert.

The first was their playing of Mozart’s Symphony No 27, which was the original choice of symphony for our concert.  However, as the Requiem and Symphony No 25 feature together in the film Amadeus, it seemed appropriate to settle on No 25.

The second point of resonance is about singing quietly, as Jim reminded us is the instruction at the opening of Ave verum corpus.  Nicole Car gave a master class in the art.  She sang the whole of an aria (Ave Maria from Verdi’s Otello) so quietly that at times you could have heard a pin drop, yet the music was full to overflowing with pathos and yearning.  What is more, the ACO’s accompaniment was even quieter, yet also full of musicality and meaning.

And lastly for those readers patient enough to wait until now, here is the reason for today’s title.  In two arias sung by Nicole, there were chromatic passages.  Again, as you would expect from someone who has wowed opera audiences in London and Paris and is about to star at the New York Met, she gave an object lesson in this tricky technique.  In one aria, the Ave Maria by Verdi, she sang a slow downwards chromatic passage, pianissimo and perfectly in tune.  In the second, Chi sa, chi sa by Mozart, both upwards and downwards passages featured, louder, much faster this time but still delightfully and perfectly in tune.

Why am I writing about this concert?  Well, it was an absolute delight, the sort of concert you wish would go on for ever.  And, if you read this before Sunday afternoon, you can hear the Melbourne performance live at 2.00pm on ABC Classic FM.  Should you read it later, I suspect that the ABC’s streaming service will make it available.

Happy listening!