mardi 6 octobre 2009

La Dame de Pique / The Queen of Spades

Pour les novices, La Dame de Pique est un opéra de Tchaikovsky inspiré de la nouvelle de Pouchkine. C'est Modest Tchaikovsky, le frère de Piotr, qui a rédigé le livret. Ce dernier est d'ailleurs assez différent de l'original. Disons que l'opéra est beaucoup plus tragique que la nouvelle.

Tchaikovsky a composé un air absolument magnifique pour le personnage du Prince Yeletsky (un baryton) : "Ja vas lyublyu" ("Je vous aime"). Dans cet air, Yeletsky s'adresse à sa fiancée, Liza, et lui dit combien il l'aime. Il sent qu'il y a quelque chose qui ne va pas mais il ne sait pas quoi : il ignore que Liza est amoureuse de Herman, un soldat.

Voici ce que dit, en gros, le texte :

Je vous aime,
Je vous aime plus que tout.
Je suis prêt pour vous à accomplir
Des exploits hors du commun
Mais soyez assurée que je ne veux en aucun cas
Restreindre la liberté de votre cœur.
Je suis prêt à cacher mes sentiments pour vous plaire
Et à modérer ma jalousie.
Je suis prêt à tout faire,
Tout, pour vous.
J'aimerais ne pas seulement être un mari aimant
Ou même un serviteur utile,
Mais votre ami et toujours celui qui vous consolera.
Oui, je vois clairement et je sens maintenant
Combien je me suis laissé égarer par mes propres rêves,
Combien peu vous me faites confiance,
A quel point je vous semble étranger et lointain.
Oh ! Comme cette distance me tourmente !
Mon âme tout entière prend part à vos souffrances.
Votre tristesse est mienne.
Vos larmes, je les pleure aussi.
Oh mon amour, ayez confiance en moi !

J'ai trouvé trois très belles versions de cet air sur youtube : deux par le baryton russe Dmitri Hvorostovsky et une par le baryton russe d'origine arménienne Pavel Lisitsian (un enregistrement qui doit dater des années 40 ou 50, mais rien n'est sûr).

For those who don't know much about opera, The Queen of Spades was composed by Tchaikovsky. It was inspired from Pushkin's short story. It's Modest, Piotr's brother, who wrote the libretto, which is quite different from the original. Let's say that Tchaikovsky made the story even more tragic.

Tchaikovsky composed a very beautiful aria for the character of Prince Yeletsky (a baritone) : "Ja vas lyublyu" ("I love you"). In this aria, Yeletsky is addressing his fiancée, Liza, and is telling her how much he loves her. He can feel that something's not right, but he can't tell exactly what : he doesn't know that Liza is in love with Herman, a soldier.

I found three very good versions of this aria on youtube : two by Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky and one by Soviet baritone Pavel Lisitsian. That Lisitsian one was probably recorded in the 40's or in the 50's but I'm not sure.

The aria is subtitled in English on Dmitri's second vid, the Mariinsky one.

Un tout jeune Dmitri, lors du prestigieux concours international de chant de Cardiff en 1989. Il avait obtenu la première place, juste devant un chanteur gallois au brillant avenir : Bryn Terfel. La voix est splendide, toute d'un bronze qui sonne merveilleusement tant l'émission est droite et franche. Le chant vient du cœur.

Young Dmitri at Cardiff's prestigious world singing competition in 1989, a competition he had won. A very talented Welsh baritone named Bryn Terfel had got silver. Hvorostovsky's voice was then marvellous : sheer bronze with colours and warmth. The emission is straightforward and the singing is totally heartfelt.

Merci à iheartverdi pour la mise en ligne.

Hvorostovsky quatorze ans plus tard, au théâtre Mariinsky de Saint-Pétersbourg. Dmitri a un peu grossi et ses cheveux sont tout blancs mais il reste bel homme. La voix a changé elle aussi. Elle a perdu de son éclat et l'émission est nettement plus couverte qu'en 1989. L'âge, sans doute, mais aussi, certainement, la conséquence de rôles un peu trop lourds et trop graves pour le format vocal du baryton russe. C'est tout de même très beau.

Hvorostovsky fourteen years later, at the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg. Dmitri has put on a bit of weight and his hair has gone completely white, but he's still a handsome man. His voice has changed too. It's lost a bit of its brightness and the emission is really hooded compared to the 1989 performance. It's probably the consequence of age, but not only : Hvorostovsky has sung roles that were a bit too heavy and too dramatic for his voice. This interpretation of Yeletsky remains extremely beautiful, imho.

Merci à iforgeti pour la mise en ligne.

Pavel Lisitsian : La voix est peut-être moins belle que celle de Hvorostovsky (quoique, ça peut se discuter), mais l'émotion est là, indéniablement. C'est vraiment très beau, peut-être même encore plus ressenti que chez Dmitri. Qu'en pensez-vous ?

Pavel Lisitsian : His voice might not have been as beautiful as Dmitri's but his singing is totally heartfelt, maybe even more than Dmitri's. What do you think of it ?

Merci à GermanOperaSinger pour la mise en ligne.

6 commentaires:

frufru a dit…

Thanks for following me :-)

I don't think it's this straightforward with Dmitri's voice. Yes, the freshness is gone, but other things have been added. He himself said that when he was young, he was artificially darkening his voice, which is definitely not good. I personally prefer (not in this specific example, though) the "older" Dmitri. I like how his voice has become bigger, darker and fuller. I definitely wouldn't call that deterioration.

BTW, I find myself addicted to his newest CD of Russian romances, soon to be released outside Russia - and find it difficult to switch back to the fresher, but much smaller and somehow less interesting voice of his of the first half of the 1990's. I also love the concert with Kaufmann.

Kapellmeister a dit…

You're welcome. Thanks for your post. :)

I've checked your blog and it's very interesting : I'm currently discovering Jan Martinik. I'll go back to it as soon as I've finished my "homework".

About Dmitri : I may not have been very fair to him in my post. I guess I wrote a bit quickly. I don't find his voice really deteriorated. I think it still sounds very good, even if I do believe that he changed it by trying to adapt to a style that was not really made for him : Verdi's. He's always had a very beautiful voice, but not super powerful, and not as dramatic as the typical Verdi baritones imho. Hence the "hooded" sound of his voice now, that's probably partly a result of trying to get that deep Verdian voice he didn't really have. There also the fact that he's now in his fifties.

However, I have to admit that he improved in many ways with time. I still remember the way he used to sing Onegin when in his thirties. It was not very good : beautiful voice but no real emotion and his acting skills were rather limited. He totally masters the part now. He was absolutely incredible in that Met performance with Fleming a few years ago.

To sum it up, I'd say that even if there are some things that I find a bit iffy in Dmitri's current technique compared to his early 90's singing, I do believe that he became a much better artist with time. He's indeed a truly great interpreter now. It was not necessary the case back then, even if I think he's always been a great Yeletsky.

All that makes me think that I'll have to post something about Onegin, Dmitri, Fleming and Guryakova, one of these days. :)

Btw, can you tell me under what title Dmitri's CD is supposed to come out in the rest of Europe ? I'm quite interested.

Fafa a dit…

M A G N I F I Q U E !!!!!!!!!

Kapellmeister a dit…

L'air est beau. Les deux bonshommes sont de grands chanteurs. Ca ne peut normalement que marcher. ;)

C'est vraiment l'un des airs de Tchaikovsky que je préfère. Ecrit pour bartyon en plus, un type de voix que j'adore.

frufru a dit…

Glad you like my blog. I've just started writing non-phonological content.

You can pre-order the double CD here:
However, in the Russian release, there were three CDs - two Tchaikovskys, and one of romances to the poems of Pushkin's. I don't know if they're planning to release it here.

Kapellmeister a dit…

Thanks a lot for the information. ;)