Nico Darmanin

Date:
  • 05/11/2017
Time:
  • 8pm
Price:
  • €25
Venue:
  • National Museum of Archaeology, Valletta

A Maltese tenor based in London, Nico Darmanin has studied with Gillian Zammit, at the Royal College of Music, the National Opera Studio and the Accademia Rossiniana in Pesaro.  He has recorded a world premiere of Massenet songs with Richard Bonynge and has worked with world renowned artists. For this recital at the National Museum of Archaeology in Valletta, Darmanin will be treating audiences to songs by Schumann, Batting, Liszt, Massenet and Gounod.

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WIDMUNG, OP. 25, N.1.                                                                               ROBERT SCHUMANN  (1810-56)

DER NUßBAUM, OP. 25, N.3

IM WUNDERSCHÖNEN MONAT MAI, OP. 48, N.1.                                                    ROBERT SCHUMANN

ICH WILL MEINE SEELE TAUCHEN, Op. 48, N. 5.

DAS IST EIN FLÖTEN UND GEIGEN, OP. 48, N. 9.

SETTING OF THREE POEMS BY PETRARCH…………………………………………….EDWARD BATTING(b. 19..)

TRE SONETTI DEL PETRARCA………………………………………………………………..……..FRANZ LISZT (1811-86)

INTERVAL

En fermant les yeux , from  MANON…………………………………………………JULES MASSENET (1842-1912)

Pourquoi me réveiller, from WERTHER………………………………………………………………JULES MASSENET

Anges du paradis, from MIREILLE………………………………………………………CHARLES GOUNOD (1818-93)

Ah! Lève-toi soleil, from Roméo et Juliette………………………………………………………….CHARLES GOUNOD

WIDMUNG, OP. 25, N.1.                                                                               ROBERT SCHUMANN  (1810-56)

DER NUßBAUM, OP. 25, N.3

In 1840, the brilliant concert pianist Clara Wieck (1819-96) legally came of age. This meant the end of a very long courtship of her by Schumann, a courtship obstinately opposed by Clara’s father. The couple could therefore marry without hindrance and this brought about an outburst of sheer joy in Robert which he expressed in several compositions in various genres. These included sets of Lieder one of which, Myrthen, Op. 25, was the composer’s wedding present to his young wife.

Widmung (Dedication) is the first of the 26 Lieder in this set and probably the best-known of them.  The poem is by Friedrich Rückert (1788-1866) written on his own marriage 1821. Schumann thus found an ideal text to set the opening Lied of this cycle. It is a passionate outburst inspired by love in which he describes his beloved as being the essence of his heart, bliss and woe, and goes on in extravagant and highly Romantic outpouring of rapt and enchanted feeling.

Der Nußbaum (The Walnut Tree) is set to a poem written in 1836 by Julius Mosen (1803-67). There is a walnut tree outside the maiden’s house and the poet imagines the rustling leaves in the wind which caresses the copious blossoms which are imagined in pairs whispering about the dreams of the maiden. Perhaps it is of a bridegroom but in her yearning she sinks into sleep.


IM WUNDERSCHÖNEN MONAT MAI, OP. 48, N.1.                                                    ROBERT SCHUMANN

ICH WILL MEINE SEELE TAUCHEN, Op. 48, N. 5.

DAS IST EIN FLÖTEN UND GEIGEN, OP. 48, N. 9.

The outburst of joyous song which Schumann’s newly experienced married bliss inspired continued with another set of Lieder later the same year. This is the well-known Dichterliebe, (The Loves of a Poet’s), Op.48, which is a setting of 16 poems by Heinrich Heine (1797-1856).

In the opening Lied the singer describes how his heart burst with love. Just like the bursting of flower buds during the wonderful month of May and at the same time, to the sound of bird song, he confesses his longing to his beloved.

Ich will meine Seele tauchen has the singer declaring that he wants to dip his soul in the chalice-shaped lily which could then breathe a song about his beloved. The song shakes like the kiss which she once gave him during a particularly sweet moment.

Basically, Das ist ein Flöten und Geigen is the singer’s complaint which is provoked by his bride’s virtual ignoring of him at their own wedding feast. She is carried away by the music of flutes, violins, trumpeters and drums, and this makes her husband feel alienated, upset and jealous.

SETTING OF THREE POEMS BY PETRARCH…………………………………………….EDWARD BATTING(b. 19..)

TRE SONETTI DEL PETRARCA………………………………………………………………..……..FRANZ LISZT (1811-86)

INTERVAL

En fermant les yeux , from  MANON…………………………………………………JULES MASSENET (1842-1912)

Massenet is considered as one of the finest of French opera composers. He wrote no less than 28 operas, a handful of which have retained a solid place in the international opera repertoire. Manon (Paris, 1884) is one of them, in five acts and based on an original story by the Abbé Le Prévost.  It became an immediate success and quickly eclipsed the hitherto popular Manon Lescaut (1856) by Auber.

This excerpt, also known as Le Rêve, comes from Act II. The scene is the Parisian apartment of the Chevalier des Grieux.  Hopelessly in love with the rather flighty Manon, he tells her of a dream he has had. He dreamt of owning a house amid beautiful flowers and the singing of birds. However he tells her that something was missing; this was the presence of Manon herself.


Pourquoi me réveiller, from WERTHER………………………………………………………………JULES MASSENET

The second of Massenet’s operas to retain a worthy place in the international repertoire is Werther, (Paris, 1892). It is in four acts, based on Goethe’s Die Leiden des Jungen Werthers (The Sorrows of the Young Werther). It is another story of hopeless and doomed love, and is considered as Massenet’s finest opera in which he catches well the character of Goethe’s tragic hero.

Act III, it is Christmas Eve and Charlotte is alone at home. Her husband is out and after having read Werther’s letters she realises the full nature of his love for her and wonders how she could have spurned him before her marriage. Werther suddenly appears and while reading to her some poetry of Ossian (“Why wake me up from my dream, oh breath of spring…?”), he realises that she returns his love.  It is an almost heart-breaking outburst. They embrace for a fleeting moment but Charlotte pulls back. He leaves hurriedly with suicidal thoughts.


Anges du paradis, from MIREILLE………………………………………………………CHARLES GOUNOD (1818-93)

Gounod is another leading name in the history of 19th century French opera. His most performed opera is Faust (Paris 1859) but leading specialists have often acclaimed the very fine music in his Mireille (Paris, March 1864, in five acts, revised to three acts, December 1864).  Very popular in France, it is infrequently performed elsewhere. Set in sunny Provence the story is of deadly rivalry for the hand of Mireille who is in love with Vincent but promised to Ourrias by her father. In the original five-act version Vincent is killed by Ourrias. In the later 3-act version there is instead a happy ending.

In the original version this aria is sung at the beginning of Act V. In the scene 2, Vincent is waiting for Mireille outside the chapel of Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer.  He knows that Mireille had to cross difficult terrain under the hot sun in order to reach him. He prays to the angels of paradise to protect Mireille and bring her safe to him.


Ah! Lève-toi soleil, from Roméo et Juliette………………………………………………………….CHARLES GOUNOD

After Faust, Roméo et Juliette (Paris, 1867) is Gounod’s most performed opera anywhere. Indeed some specialists tend to attribute to it an overall superiority with regard to Faust. What is certain is that its appeal is due to some of the finest music Gounod ever wrote.

Perhaps the love story of Romeo and Juliet is the most tragic ever known. Belonging to two rival families who are in a continuous, deadly feud they try to surmount every possible obstacle in their tortuous path.

In Act II, Roméo sneaks into the garden of the Capulets. He is looking for Juliette and waits for her to appear on her balcony. His yearning for her is such that it leads him into comparing her to the sun, which must rise and with its beauty eclipse the brightest stars in the sky.

ALBERT-G. STORACE.

Enjoy a recital of songs by Malta’s own bel canto tenor.