Hibla Gerzmava at Kazan Autumn: a woman's story
The second concert of Kazan Autumn International Opera Festival held by the State Symphony Orchestra of the Republic of Tatarstan ended in Kazan. The State Big Concert Hall was full, this time art director of the Tatarstan Symphony Orchestra, art director of the festival Aleksandr Sladkovsky invited one of the best world sopranos Hibla Gerzmava to take part in Kazan Autumn. Realnoe Vremya tells the details.
Prayer for 'holy goddess'
Kazan Autumn has been traditionally opening with a luxurious gift from Aleksandr Sladkovsky to citizens of Kazan for 8 years already – the maestro invites music fans to an open-air concert near the Agriculturists' Palace on 30 August. Admission is free, of course, and one can listen to good opera music for 2 hours. The concert ends at 22.00 to the sounds of fireworks by the Republic Day and the City Day when the orchestra is giving a bravura performance of Salikh Saidashev's March. So was it this year too.
The next concert of the opera festival moves to the State Big Concert Hall of the Republic of Tatarstan where a full-house performance was forecasted last Saturday. The evening was dedicated to the owner of a soft soprano that seems to consist of melted old gold – Hibla Gerzmava, who has already performed with the Tatarstan Symphony Orchestra and maestro Sladkovsky many times.
Apart from having an amazing voice, Gerzmava is artistic, beautiful, smart and charismatic. She knows how to instantaneously transform onstage, instantaneously switch from one psychological state to another. She doesn't allow the audience to distract by constantly drawing attention to herself. In general, when she was on the stage, she had only one rival. More about that a bit later on.
Going ahead, we'll say the overture by Verdi's Nabucco was performed by Sladkovsky like a small play where musical themes became plot lines where almost the actors' characters were distinguished. This all alluded to the famous choir of Jews like a gold pre-dawn smoke. It's a great secret how the maestro managed to do it. Back to the evening's main character.
The first appearance of Hibla Gerzmava on the stage was greeted with a big round of applause, the singer was incredibly elegant in a strict sparkling floor-length black dress. She was focused and distracted – Casta Diva from Norma was played, a prayer for the ''holy goddess'', a very complicated aria in the world opera repertoire. How delicate, how passionate was Aleksandr Sladkovsky at this moment! He seemed to be afraid of any negligence to destroy this mysterious, praying state of the singer.
Gerzmava was different in the concert – tragic Desdemona who hoped to be happy, suffering Adriana Lecouvreur, tender Clara from Gershwin's Porgy and Bess. The silk of the black dress with crinoline in the second part of the concert made noise like Blok's The Unknown Lady. The singer was either desperately dramatic or recklessly merry, naughty. It seemed the poet said about her: it's a great step to be a woman, heroism is to make go mad.
Bunch of Flowers from Nice
But every female character must have her own hero, like it was in the festival programme. Of course, Aleksandr Sladkovsky was another person who drew the audience's attraction to himself.
It was a duo of two equal partners when the man assumed the honourable role of knight who is responsible for the lady and protects her. And, of course, it wasn't an accompaniment of the orchestra but a co-performance of musicians with the soloist, the co-performance when the conductor feels her slightest psychological nuance intuitively.
When encore performance began and the audience was possessed and wasn't going to leave the hall, of course, wonderfully old-fashioned, nostalgic and romantic Bunch of Flowers from Nice started to sound. And Hibla Gerzmava stepped onto the podium near the maestro. He caught her and started a slow and sensual dance and miraculously continued conducting. The dance had unusual purity and spiciness at the same time.
Kazan Autumn festival will go on. The next concert will be in October.