A laugh through tears

Oxana Arkaevas our-of-the-road recital  performance in the Podium of Theatee in Ulm

By E. Pluta, March 28th, 2018

Armed with a suitcase, acting like a bum, an old woman hobbles onto the empty stage and begins with the wistful retrospect of the old Countess of Queen of Spades, remembering an aria (from Gretry) from her youth. The suitcase, one will soon learn, contains costume pieces and props needed for the upcoming performances as the transformation help help to slip from one roll to the other.

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The old Countess, Pique Dame. Photo: M. Gales

The soprano displays comediantic talent in acting, that is usually hardly required in performing of dramatic soprano repertoire. Where it is required she presents the whole vocal power, or otherwise relies on the softer nuances, turning the arias into inner monologues.

Detached from the context of the pieces and confronted with the literary texts, Oxana Arkaeva gave the presented arias a whole new meaning. Like in the Marschallin’s time monologue from the Rosenkavalier – a role that the singer had  impressively embodied at the Ulmer Theater – which, in connection with RudolfRolf’s Mind awareness, gets a frisky cabaret-touch.

Ottavia. Foto: M. Gales
Ottavia in L’incoronazione di Poppea. Photo: M. Gales

Tatjana’s famous (shortened here) letter scene from EugeneOnegin in turn preceded by Erich Kastner’s Prayer of no-virgin an ironic break. A sarcastic look falls on the aria of the unscrupulous careerist Vitellia from Mozart’s LaclemenzadiTito (“Deh! Se piacer mi vuoi”), which follows BrigitteHeidebrecht’s Song of a relationship fighter and in which the narcissistic disposition of the figure is shown not only in glittering coloratura but also in the ecstatic use of the smartphone for selfie purposes.

However, the nobly suffering noble women are not always regrettable victims. Vitellia instigates Sesto to murder his friend Titus, the outcast Ottavia is the same betrayed Ottone to the murder of the libertarian emperor Nero, and the poisoner Lucrezia Borgia, whose only weak point is love for her son Gennaro even a mass murderer. In her aria “Com’è bello” Oxana Arkaeva presents a high Belcanto culture, which she also follows in the other scenes. The best comes to the end: an intimate, entranced interpretation of Isoldes Liebestod.

Amangul Klychmuradova cut
Amaangul Klychmuradova. Foto: W. Gschwandtner

Amangul Klychmuradova,  is a sensitive, in all musical styles saddle-strong companion to Arkaevas side; Together, the two artists achieve a chamber-like intimacy that is rarely experienced in opera.

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