Two settings of The last seven words of Christ on the cross followed one another in the Bozar, one by Pergolesi, one by Haydn. Pergolesi’s music is varied enough with many obbligato accompaniments, especially brilliant the first tenor aria and the cello-accompanied baritone aria Consummatum est. The orchestra played brilliantly although I found René Jacobs not as inspired. Absolutely stunning the young Prégardien, secure over the whole range, light, dramatic and varied. Less convincing the other three singers, partially monotonous in phrasing, uneven when the vocal line rose or dropped. Correctly sung the second part of the concert, the Stabat mater by Pergolesi.
The other seven words I saw after two days, were by Haydn. Haydn’s biographer Griesinger reports: it was certainly one of the most difficult tasks, to compose 7 Adagio’s which follow one another, that do not fatigue the listener, and arouse in him all sensations which are in the spirit of each word uttered by the dying saviour. Haynd found the work as one of his most successful. And indeed the music is absolutely wonderful. The 4 soloists did not make a big impression mainly because they always sang together (except for a few bars now and then) and blended in with the choir. Herreweghe and his Orchestra of Champs Elysée played very well. The choir on the other hand was impressive. Exceptionally correct and expressive singing as always, the Collegium Vocale Gent were a marvel of passion and fervour.
Pergolesi: Director-René Jacobs, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Soprano-Sunhae Im, Alto-Christophe Dumaux, Tenor-Julian Prégardien, Baritone-Johannes Weisser (12/3/16). Haydn: Director-Philippe Herreweghe, Sopran-Sarah Wegener, Alt-Maria-Henriette Reinhold, Tenor-Robin Tritschler, Orchestre des Champs-Élysées, Collegium Vocale Gent (14/3/16).