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Louise Alder, Roger Vignoles, Wigmore Hall review - German Romanticism meets French eroticism | reviews, news & interviews

Louise Alder, Roger Vignoles, Wigmore Hall review - German Romanticism meets French eroticism

Louise Alder, Roger Vignoles, Wigmore Hall review - German Romanticism meets French eroticism

Music by Berg, Bizet and Poulenc makes for a heady lunchtime amuse-bouche

Louise Alder: a delightful ranconteur in the French repertoireWigmore Hall

We may have started out among the wholesome pleasures of nature, but we ended up in the bedroom – once, that is, we had recovered from the flying breasts… Soprano Louise Alder’s recital – the last in the Wigmore Hall’s month-long lunchtime series – had a twinkle in its eye and the weekend firmly in its sights.

A luscious blend of German Romanticism and French eroticism took us from Fanny Mendelssohn and early Berg to Bizet, Poulenc and Satie. Heady stuff for daylight hours, and a delicious send-off for this superb series.

Alder’s piquant, text-driven delivery is married to an increasing depth of tone, giving us a wonderful range of colours and characters through this brief programme. The chaste rapture of Fanny Mendelssohn’s mountain-top musings in “Bergeslust” was captured in silvery brilliance, Alder’s lofty soprano freewheeling above Roger Vignoles’ anchoring accompaniment, before delicacy was cast to the wind in the operatic ecstasy of “Nach Suden”.

Berg’s Seven Early Songs – love-songs for the composer’s new wife – cast off into moodier landscapes, Vignoles delighting in the crepuscular, Debussyean shades of the “vast wonderland” of “Nacht” and the gleam of moon on the water in “Schilflied”. Painting with her consonants, careful as a cabaret artist of every flick and curl of language, Alder embraced the sensuality of these youthful settings, the late Romantic swell and ebb of the phrases. The trippy “Traumgekrönt”, with its groping harmonies, pointed to the future, tempering the nostalgic kitsch of domestic miniature “Im Zimmer”.Louise Alder, Roger Vignoles, Wigmore HallFrom Vienna to Paris and from married love to something rather more illicit. After the richness of the Berg, Bizet’s sweet-sour, perfumed seductions had a delightfully acid tang. The well-practised lovers of his “Chant d’amour” found a “favourable shade” that was more palm-court than woodland, while the awkward would-be lover of “La cocinelle” who, distracted by a ladybird, fails to steal a kiss, was painted with just the right balance of cruelty (Vignoles’ stammering splash of an opening and his staggering waltz offering a vivid picture of gangling awkwardness). And there was no doubting the intent of the poet of “Ouvre ton coeur” in Alder’s swaggering delivery, begging his lover to open her heart to persistent bolero rhythms, while clearly hoping she’d open something else instead – a prelude to the absolute sexual surrender of Satie’s “Je te veux” which closed the programme.

Three short songs from Poulenc’s Metamorphoses were all throwaway brilliance – a curtain-raiser for the most dramatic metamorphosis of all: Thérèse’s transformation from submissive French housewife to soldier-adventurer Tiresias in the composer’s one-act surrealist opera Les Mamelles de Tiresias.Louise Alder, Roger Vignoles, Wigmore HallReturning from offstage complete with ruffled pinny, mop and duster, Alder gave us a fiery “Non, Monsieur, mon mari” (complete with interjections from Momentum scheme baritone Julien van Mellaerts as Thérèse’s startled husband) dispatching the aria’s uncompromising leaps and shifts of mood with the same insouciant ease with which she released her helium-filled balloon “breasts” up into the air. They’re probably still floating somewhere near the ceiling; they’re not the only ones.


It was heady stuff for daylight hours and a delicious send-off for this concert series


Editor Rating: 
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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