Sunday, September 14, 2008

Marcelo Álvarez in Thessaloniki, or a practical guide to how to lose your voice by screaming bravo like crazy!

What a fool I was! A few days ago I wasn’t even sure that I would take this 24hours thunder-trip to Thessaloniki just for a Recital. My prejudice towards the Thessaloniki Megaron would prevent me from one of the most amazing operatic nights that I have experienced the last few years.

Of course there is always some moaning regarding the Thessaloniki Concert Hall. No matter where you sit, the acoustics are terrible, like being in a huge bathroom with lots lots lots of echo. And the temperature? Boy!at the foyers, in the hall, the medium temperature was of about 30+degrees. Poor Marcelino that had to sing under these circumstances.

But Marcelo Álvarez is a tiger. He doesn’t need good acoustics nor a perfect temperature to thrill the audience. It’s this amazing charisma that you ‘ll find in very few opera singers, the charisma to arrest the audience’s eyes for as long as you are on stage, to cut the audience’s breath for as long as you sing. And both these things happened. A couple of minutes were enough and myself as the rest of the audience were under the spell of this magician who made us laugh, cry, scream bravo like crazy, who left us speechless, who made us feel alive.

Marcelo first appeared on stage at about 21.20, looking A LOT THINNER, after the ouverture to Gounod´s Mireille, beautifully performed by the Thessaloniki State Orchestra, to sing Romeo’s "Ah, leve-toi soleil!". What a sound! Mellifluous, round, no edges at all, a projection that overruled the bad acoustics, a pronunciation that most tenors who sing French repertoire would be jealous of, and those high notes!! He made them look so easy, singing them so effortlessly! And real pianissimi! He had definitely passed the parsi-test. Now I could relax and just enjoy the rest…

"Ah! Leve-toi soleil", Marcelo Álvarez, Thessaloniki, 13 Sept. 2008

Second aria and this time it’s Don José. Mmmm…. More beautiful sounds. Hey, but not only beautiful sounds, are these tears climbing up my eyes? Marcelo had done it…

Massenet time! The Thessaloniki State Orchestra with soloist Simos Papanas play the Méditation from Thais. Papanas was definitely a highlight of the night! What a magnificent interpretation by this young and so promising soloist. The ones that heard the Méditation performed by the Athens State Orchestra at the Renée Fleming recital can surely compare both performances: the hideous one by the Athens State Orchestra and the marvelous one by the Thessaloniki guys and Simos Papanas. I had some suspicion but after last night I can be sure about it: the Thessaloniki State Orchestra is the best in Greece and light years away from the Athens one…

Back to Marcelo who after the Thais gave us a top Werther, an extravagant "Pourquoi me reveiller" that could easily melt the heart of even the most severe critic (and you know that’s not my case..hehe). End of Part 1 and the audience calls Marcelo again on stage.

During the intermission you can see it at other people’s faces: Sheer happiness, pure joy, I call friends to tell them that they ‘re stupid and that they ought to be here. And I flee to the Hall as I cannot stand the 40 degrees at the foyer.

Second part, Forza ouverture blah blah blah (the next time I listen to the Forza ouverture in a recital I fear that I will do something very bad to myself).

Time for some Rodolfo. Don’t go “Aaaaah!!!!”. I’m not talking about the Bohéme Rodolfo (well, I wish he had sung that too) but about the Luisa Miller Rodolfo.
"Quando le sere al placido" is an extremely difficult aria (yeah, as if the others were piece of cake) that can reveal all the voice’s weaknesses, but I found no weakness in Marcelo’s voice whatsoever.

Peak moment of the night:
"Il Lamento di Federico" and more tears for Parsi (have I become very sensitive or what?). I can’t say anything. It was so perfect that I can find no words to describe it. Listen to it and you tell me…

"É la solita storia del pastore", Marcelo Álvarez, Thessaloniki, 13 Sept. 2008

Ta dah! "Nessun dorma" is the last aria, a showpiece that usually makes audiences go wild. And wild it went.

"Nessun Dorma",
Marcelo Álvarez, Thessaloniki, 13 Sept. 2008

Marcelo was called on stage a few times before his first encore, received some flowers, played with the audience and then amazed us with a beautiful "E lucevan le stelle".

More applause, Marcelo sweating, the audience sweating but it didn’t matter. What mattered was to have some more moments of Álvarez-awesomeness. Second encore: "Core ‘ngrato". Oh c’mon! Stop breaking our hearts and sing us a third encore: "No puede ser" comes third. Marcelo starts sounding tired. The high notes are not effortless any more but he sings with his soul and his voice doesn’t betray him. I take for granted that the recital is over. Standing ovation for our Marcelissimo. He looks dazzled and happy. I’m pretty sure that he won’t go for a fourth but hey! Maestro Angelo Cavallaro takes his place at the podium and the orchestra plays the first notes of Granada. Granada, tu tierra está llena de lindas mujeres de sangre y de sol!
The End.

Marcelo talking, Maestro translating

Marcelo and the standing ovation

Backstage the temperature is even higher. It´s an inferno but nobody seems to protest. Marcelo is happy, we speak for quite a while and then he receives the vice-mayor (more heads of Alexander the Great, this time it was a silver one) and about 50 people who are waiting outside his dressing room.

I tell him that I was listening to his awesome Puritani from Modena the other day and he says “Can u believe it??? Nobody seemed to like me back then! Nobody wanted me to sing”. Well, we do, Marcelo, please come back, to Athens if possible the next time.

I also comment on his loss of weight and he seems to enjoy that someone has noticed. And then we say stuff about opera blogs and the photos from the Rome Tosca but that ‘s none of your business. Hehehe.

The view at the dinner

At the post-concert dinner, at the roof garden of Electra Palace, Marcelo looks calm and seems to enjoy
his wine and the view from above. What a sweet, totally normal and balanced guy… I tell him “Buenas noches, que vuelvas”. Goodnight, come back.

Gracias Marcelo Raúl Álvarez.


Hariclea said...

Me alegro que lo hayas pasado tan bien! Y me ha gustado el lamento:-) Tiene un timbre bonito de voz el senor. Lo que si el eco de la sala..a flipar, parece cantar en un pasillo vacio ;-) Nada mejor para el corazon y los oidos de un fan que un concierto de su cantante preferido ;-)

Anonymous said...

Superb,superb,superb! Thank you Parsifal for the recordings.
Especially "Nessun dorma" moved me so much that brought tears to my eyes. The orchestra was magnificent too.
As for the unbearable heat, didn't you complain to the administration?

kay3914 said...

Thank you so much for the wonderful review of this concert, as well as the photos and sound files!

Marcelo, my all time favorite singer ever, looks and sounds fabulous.

I am so glad you were able to go and to give us this exciting review. I would have loved to have been there, but reading your blog is the next best thing. Thanks again,


Anonymous said...

Hi Parsifal,

MANY thanks for this beautiful report, the photos and the great soundfiles!

Marcelissimo is a tiger, ... YES!!!

I never can decide if I like his Lamento more or his Pourquoi me reveiller ... or the Ah! leve-toi soleil???? Difficult, he is my favorite and I hope to hear and see him many times again, the next time in Madrid in Ballo.

If you don't have enough soundfiles, photos or videos of him, join my fangroup for Marcelo by clicking the link above.

Christine, Vienna
owner of marcelissimo:

Anonymous said...

Ooooooooh!!!!! what a lucky duck you are!!!!!! xaxaxa I'm so happy he did such a wonderful recital! He makes me cry everytime, and thank god I contain myself because of the make up! Did he say anything about coming to Rome for the next season? *goes down on her knees praying*

Anonymous said...

anipomonoume kai gia tis ipoloipes foto...

Anonymous said...

Ta exeis sarosei ola!!! Tous efages olous laxano! Bravo! Kai anatheoro tin kritiki mou gia ton Marcelino. Apo auta pou akousa, itan poly kalos! To Nessun Dorma itan to highlight! Bravo kai se ekeinon! Ante, giname kai famous! Mia i Kiri, mia o Marcelino here comes Rollandoulis...!!! Tha prospathiso na ertho kato, pes mou mono pos kleinoume eisitiria....?????

Ντεμης said...

It must have been a recital to cherish, judging from your enthousiasm and sound files! Thaks for the report. Bravo Marcello!

Vissi d'arte said...

Thank you so much for the review, Parsi, and for the recordings... you moved me!!! What a wonderful night you lived, I'm happy for you... and also dying to see Marcelo!!!

Besos guapo :-)

kyzikos said...

the most i liked was:
"he had definitely passed the parsi-test. Now I could relax and just enjoy the rest…"

mahler76 said...

να την και η μονοήμερη Θεσσαλονίκη. Τέλεια.

Marga said...

Ay Parsi cuanto me gusta Marcelo, puedes poner el concierto entero en rapid?
Besitos guapísimo!

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