The soprano fulfills a lifelong dream of recording songs from not only Spain but also Cuba, Brazil and France
After two recitals on Deutsche Grammophon featuring works by Mozart, Haydn, Handel and their contemporaries, French soprano Patricia Petibon turns her attention to Spain and then other countries for songs and arias. This unique and personal collection of works all revolve around the idea of melancholy. According to Petibon, “at the center [of the idea] is the character of Salud in Falla’s La vida breve. She embodies the melancholy of the title, the loss of hope. Melancholy is a balance in life, a sadness that binds us to death. Salud represents the darkest side of melancholy that tends toward tragedy. But this sort of melancholy can also depict the radiance of childhood, of joy and laughter. What I wanted to explore through this disc was the journey between these two poles.”
Throughout her life Petibon has been attracted to Spain and its music. Early on she added Spanish songs to her recitals and later traveled to Madrid to perform. It was during performances in Torroba’s Luisa Fernanda in Vienna with Plácido Domingo that she found herself surrounded by many performers from all types of Spanish-language backgrounds. Working with them gave Petibon new insight: “Spanish artists have a physical sense of the music: for them, it draws its strength from the body, and there I can’t resist making a connection with Baroque music, with dance, of course, and extreme characters – think of Médée or Armide. It also shares the same kind of quality of roughness, of rawness, and voices are used to express emotions, not just to make a lovely sound.”
“But there are endless subtleties in Ms. Petibon’s thrilling voice, a vehicle for myriad shades of rage, pain and yearning … her voice rich in both its powerful top range and its mellower lower notes. She takes abundant liberties without sacrificing good taste.” – The New York Times review of Rosso
For repertoire choices Petibon has included a variety of works. The famous Aria from Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 by Villa-Lobos is joined by works of Granados, Montsalvatge, Turina and others. In addition, Petibon includes the world-premiere of a new song cycle written especially for her by French composer Nicolas Bacri: Melodías de la melancholia. With a text by the Paris-based Colombian writer Álvaro Escobar Molina, the cycle allows Petibon to “complete a melancholy journey with a contemporary work, an opening to the future, and a blend of our two cultures.” This cross-cultural conversation and sense of a journey permeates the selections and the overall structure of the recital.