Prominent soprano Diana Damrau’s first Romanian performance, in recital with harpist Xavier de Maistre at the 2019 George Enescu Festival, now at #EnescuOnline
Between May 14 and 16, the Enescu Festival Online continues with an exceptional recital given by soprano Diana Damrau and harpist Xavier de Maistre. The program, presented on the Romanian Athenaeum stage at the 2019 George Enescu International Festival, included songs and harp pieces by Felix Mendelssohn, Franz Liszt, George Enescu, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Vladimir Aleksandrovici Vlasov, Reynaldo Hahn, Henriette Renié, and Francis Poulenc.
Diana Damrau and Xavier de Maistre’s recital left a huge and lasting impression on the Festival’s audience. The soprano seduced her public with a wisely chosen repertoire, where the musical sense of Mendelssohn, Rachmaninoff, and Poulenc blended with the pure poetry of stanzas by Verlaine, Goethe, Heine, Pushkin, and Schiller, showcasing Damrau’s impeccable vocal technique and the musicality of both stage partners. Beyond the talent, discipline, and hard work transfigured in consummate interpretations, the timbre and sound achieved were solid proof of exceptional duo cohesion.
In Xavier de Maistre’s inspired hands, the harp revealed itself as the heroine of the day, delicate in dialogue with the soprano’s voice and fully completing the musical harmony. The harp’s solo moments included a piece written by Enescu especially for this surprising instrument, and the transposition of The Nightingale by Franz Liszt, both works revealing an artist of equal strength and sensibility.
Soprano Diana Damrau has been performing on the world’s leading opera and concert stages for two decades. Her vast repertoire spans both lyric soprano and coloratura roles including the title roles in Lucia di Lammermoor (La Scala, Bavarian State Opera, Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House), Manon (Vienna State Opera, Metropolitan Opera) and La Traviata (La Scala, Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House, Opéra National de Paris, and Bavarian State Opera) as well as Queen of the Night in Die Zauberflöte (Metropolitan Opera, Salzburg Festival, Vienna State Opera, Royal Opera House, Bavarian State Opera). Diana Damrau has established herself as one of today’s most sought-after interpreters of Lied, regularly performing at most worldwide renowned venues. She enjoys a close artistic partnership with pianist Helmut Deutsch and frequently performs in recital with harpist Xavier de Maistre. The latter collaboration can be heard in the CD release Nuit d’étoiles and a DVD capturing their performance at the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden.
Xavier de Maistre belongs to an elite category of soloists who are redefining what is possible with their instrument. Aside from commissions from composers such as Kaija Saariaho, he performs works like Smetana’s Ma Vlast (My Homeland) with breathtaking precision, presenting masterful arrangements of works that are usually played by an entire orchestra. The interpretation of these works, that few harpists before him have even considered playing, has contributed to his reputation as one of the most creative and extraordinary musicians of his generation. Xavier de Maistre has appeared with major orchestras under the direction of such eminent conductors as Bertrand de Billy, Lionel Bringuier, Daniele Gatti, Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, Daniel Harding, Kristjan Järvi, Philippe Jordan, Riccardo Muti, Andrés Orozco-Estrada, André Previn, Sir Simon Rattle and Yuri Temirkanov. He performs at many leading international festivals, including Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Salzburg Festival, Budapest Spring Festival and Mostly Mozart in New York. He collaborates with such chamber music partners as Diana Damrau, Daniel Müller- Schott, and Baiba Skride.