Buenos Aires Herald - "Vivaldi and Mendelssohn, great choral-symphonic composers" por Pablo Bardin - 3-12-2004 (extracto)
The best thing in the final weeks of Nuova Harmonia's season was the debut of the Athestis Choir and the Academia de li Musici conducted by Filippo Maria Bressan, who offered at the Colón an almost all-Vivaldi programme preceded by the famous Alessandro Marcello Oboe Concerto. And recently Patricia Pouchulu (La Bella Música) undertook the presentation of Mendelssohn's "Elijah" , following her success last year with Haydn's "The Creation"; guided by the sure and vibrant hand(s) of Antonio María Russo, it was a moving experience.
On to "Elijah". As you know, this is as much an English as a German "property" for, although it was a commission from Birmingham where it was premiered on August 1846 in an English translation of the Schubring libretto by William Bartholomew; it had enormous success and became Queen Victoria's favorite 19th. Century oratorio. It was premiered in German at Hamburg and Vienna the following year (the latter when the composer was already dead). To quote from my short programme note: " 'Elijah' was for Great Britain the great successor of the Handelian tradition and for Germany as the score where we find the synthesis of J.S.Bach and Romanticism". "The libretto (based on Biblical sources about the prophet) follows the operatic mold and the character of Elias has a Verdian dramatic intensity".
As I intimated, the soul of the enterprise was conductor Russo, surely a great specialist in this repertoire, as proved by earlier performances of the "Lobgesang" Symphony or of "The First Night of Walpurgis". He has an unerring feeling for the proper tempo and the right inflexions and he communicates his learned enthusiasm with galvanic force to chorus and orchestra. He picked very good singers. Lucas Debevec Mayer, in splendidly full voice, was a magnetic and musical Elijah. Carla Filipcic Holm was expressive and sensitive as The Widow, and CarlosUllán sang well as Obadjah, though he must improve his German. Russo followed the score specifications carefully, and as there are quartets and octets by solo voices (sometimes done by chamber choirs within the larger choir) we had no less than nine other soloists, where I especially liked soprano Virginia Savastano, mezzo Mónica Sardi, contralto Alicia Alduncín, tenor Maico Hsiao and bass Alejandro Di Nardo.
The recuperated Lagun Onak Choir, prepared by Néstor Andrenacci, was splendid in vocal quality and discipline, thus providing (as of yore) the big symphonic private choir we need. And the very accurate and involved Orchestra was made mostly of Colón players.
Extracto del artículo: cortesía diario Buenos Aires Herald