30 November -0001
Opera lovers got a treat last night when soprano Madeleine Pierard joined pianist Terence Dennis on the Civic Theatre stage for a simple but stunning performance.
A small but appreciative audience listened as Pierard’s moving voice introduced five songs from Les Chants d’Auvergne by composer Canteloube and Trois Melodies by Messiaen ending with the Parisian composer’s prayer for peace for a lost love.
Pierard chose each of the pieces in last night’s repertoire and the enthusiasm for each one was evident.
Her dramatisations of longing in Berg’s Sommertage, grief in Bellini’s Dolente immagine di Fille mia, and delight in the return of a loved one in Semiramide was engaging and playful, as she leaned against the piano in an evening gown.
A highlight of the evening was Songs for Beatrice, which was commissioned by Chamber Music New Zealand for the 10-stop tour.
Based on the life of astronomer Beatrice Tinsley, who died of cancer in 1981 at the age of 40, the five-part piece by composer Ross Harris was a collaboration with the poet Vincent O’Sullivan.
Pierard gave the heartbreaking decisions Tinsley faced towards the end of her life a fresh sadness and beauty – ‘‘what moves, what moves the stars, Beatrice? Knowledge and love. Always, as always.’’
An enthralling performance by the 2005 Lexus Song Quest winner before she returns to London to perform with the Royal Opera at Convent Garden.