BAROQUE GEMS DISCOVERED IN KALLITHEA
Marita Paparizou is undoubtedly the leading Greek coloratura mezzo soprano, specializing in the Baroque and Rossini repertoire mainly, therefore the recital she gave at the Municipal Theatre of Kallithea, consisted mainly from arias by Haendel and Vivaldi, with the first part devoted to Vivaldi's “Stabat Mater”. As a bonus we had the opportunity to hear two of her students – as she is an accomplished vocal teacher – the counter tenor Vassilis Bouris , and the bass baritone Thodoris Kardaras.
M.Paparizou's voice is perfectly suited to the baroque repertoire, especially in roles which require a high degree of technical singing such as the aria from Rinaldo ( venti turbini ), and of exceptional coloratura, such as the aria from Vivaldi's “Argippo”, ( se lento ancora il fulmine ) which she sung for the first time in Greece introducing us to a well deserved revival piece. This aria with its vertiginous coloraturas, and swift tempo changes was all but a challenge for M.Paparizou, who handled the aria with ease and exceptional technique.
The same goes for the Haendel arias from “Semele” and “Rinaldo”, whereas in the slow aria from Vivaldi's “Orlando Furioso” she had the opportunity to display her impeccable sotto voce, lyrical phrasing and sensitivity to the vocal line.
The first part was all devoted to Vivaldi's “Stabat Mater” a piece she has recorded with Maestro Claudio Scimone in a new revised version from the composer's original manuscripts. She breathed new life to this amazing piece, I personally found the “Eja Mater” a moving performance, and the final “Amen” sung with the appropriate speed and bravura.
With her, two of her students sung from one piece each, starting with the young counter tenor Vassilis Bouris who sung “Va tacito..” from Haendel's “Giulio Cesare”. His voice has all the qualities of a great counter tenor, albeit in the making, but his technical handling of the piece was very impressive. What was a great bonus for the listener was his absolutely impeccable articulation of the text. He is a promising singer who is intelligent, knowledgable and attentive to the details of the score, holding a great promise for a future career.
Thodoris Kardaras, impressed us with his ringing bass barytone voice choosing Zoroastro's aria “Sorge infausta una procella..” from Haendel's Orlando. He sang with great gusto and energy, he is a singer with an accomplished voice and a flair for the stage. His rendition of the music was energetic with a steady round voice which coupled with his inner theatricality, gave us a stellar performance. However one must caution him not to fall into stage excesses, a singer does not wave bye bye to the audience at the end of his performance as if he is in a rock concert. Unfortunately or not, the Classical Music Stage has its own laws, a musical “savoir vivre” which a performer must respect.
However this is such a minor “offence” since I really hope that he will pursue a brilliant career.
Only the best one must note for the two pianists who accompanied the singers, V.Hatzikoumbaroglou, and D.Giakas. They both were exceptional. D,Giakas was a great bonus, he is the Greek Gerald Moore, his playing makes the piano sound like a true orchestra. His musicianship and knowledge of the true Art of accompaniment is evident in all the recitals he takes part. Indeed it is a difficult task to just be a “second” voice in a sense, it requires humility, love of music and above all to become one with the singer so that one does not overshadow the other.
A very enjoyable concert, especially since it gives us the opportunity to listen to young singers who will insure the future of opera in Greece.