Saturday, December 9, 2017

A Journey Through Time - Austrian artists mezzo-soprano Annette Lubosch and pianist Ingmar Beck perform at the Austrian Hospice, Jerusalem

Ingmar Beck,Annette Lubosch (photo:Petra Klose)
“A Journey Through Time” was the theme of an Advent Season Concert performed by mezzo-soprano Annette Lubosch and pianist Ingmar Beck in the Imperial Salon of the Austrian Hospice of the Holy Family, Jerusalem, on December 2nd 2017. Ms. Lubosch, known for her versatility and lively personality, introduced the concert by saying that, inspired by the colour and variety of Jerusalem, she wished to be seen as a “wanderer” through the different items of the evening’s program.

The first half of the concert included a number of Romantic pieces, opening with a sprightly reading of “Villanelle” from Hector Berlioz’ “Les nuits d'été” (Théophile Gautier), Lubosch’s fresh singing describing a spring scene brimming with the optimism of new love. In three Schubert songs,  the first - “Wohin” (To Where) was no less optimistic, with the piano’s ceaseless suggestion of a babbling brook. Then, the major-minor tranquil but fateful duality of  "Der Vollmond Strahlt auf Bergeshöh'n" (The Full Moon Shines on the Mountain Height) from “Rosamunde”. This was followed by “Gute Nacht” (Good Night), its narrative setting the scene for the “Winterreise” (Winter’s Journey), with the piano’s incessant chords depicting the man’s footsteps. I found the artists’ slow tempo  a little on the heavy side. In the “Habanera” from Bizet’s “Carmen”, Annette Lubosch gave a spontaneous and convincing performance as the saucy gypsy girl Carmen:

…’Love is a rebellious bird
That none can tame,
And it is well in vain that one calls it
If it suits him to refuse
Nothing to be done, threat or prayer.
The one talks well, the other is silent;
And it's the other that I prefer
He says nothing but he pleases me…’
Also telling of gypsies and cruel trickery, the two artists’ performance of the eerie Spanish traditional song “Hijo de la luna” (Son of the Moon) was vibrant, emotional and dynamic.

Annette Lubosch’s competence in the genre of musical theatre was displayed in her attention to detail and gestures, her humour and the touching, communicative renditions of numbers from “My Fair Lady”,”The Sound of Music” and “West Side Story”.

Following Adolphe Schlösser’s rather pedestrian “He that keepeth Israel” (Psalm 121), surely  one of the German/English composer’s less inspiring pieces, we heard a selection of Christmas songs, beginning with a sensitive performance of Engelbert Humperdinck’s “Weihnachten” (Christmas), with Ingmar Beck’s delicate accompaniment adding to the song’s sense of well-being. After “What Child is This” to the Greensleeves melody, the artists gave a hearty reading of a traditional Austrian Christmas carol (sung in Austrian dialect) and a lively, sentimental and touching presentation  of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, a song written by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blane, introduced by Judy Garland in the 1944 MGM musical “Meet Me in St. Louis”.

This concert was the first collaboration between the two artists. Ingmar Beck, today highly active as a conductor, added much to the evening’s enjoyment and musicality with his accompaniments.  A nice touch to the evening was Annette Lubosch’s reading of a few poems. In a  program hosted by Rector Markus St. Bugnyar and the Austrian Hospice, Annette Lubosch, Ingmar Beck and contralto Veronika Dünser were also here to give of their time to tutoring local young people.


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