Release date: 2/6/2017
SF Opera Lab LA VOIX HUMAINE.pdf Photos Available
“[Antonacci] was fully in control of her resources as she applied her enormous palette of vocal colors and inflections to portray, with an almost unbearably lifelike immediacy, a woman losing control…Every syllable in this performance cut to the quick, as did Antonacci’s mobile face and astute body language, their communicative power amplified by the close quarters.” (Opera News)
“A dramatically commanding soprano, she is an exceptional stage presence. I was sitting close enough to see her facial expressions, and they registered the cinematic realism of a great actress.” (Los Angeles Times)
SF Opera Lab presents three performances of Francis Poulenc’s 1958 monodrama La Voix humaine (The Human Voice) starring internationally acclaimed soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci with pianist Donald Sulzen on March 11, 14 and 17, 2017. In these rare appearances outside of Europe, Antonacci will perform “Elle,” the distraught character at the heart of the opera and one of the soprano’s most celebrated portrayals, along with a program of French art songs in the intimate, 299-seat Dianne and Tad Taube Atrium Theater at the Diane B. Wilsey Center for Opera.
Based on Jean Cocteau’s play about a woman’s desperate, final phone conversation with a soon-to-be ex-lover, Poulenc’s score complements the rhapsodic narrative with musical tension. A vocal and dramatic tour-de-force, La Voix humaine requires a virtuoso performer and Antonacci has emerged as one of the work’s leading interpreters today. After a recent performance at New York’s Alice Tully Hall, The New York Times observed, “Ms. Antonacci’s remarkable talent is a suspension between artifice and naturalness, theatricality and subtlety. She may be putting on an act, but she’s also telling the truth.”
La Voix humaine marks Antonacci’s fifth engagement with San Francisco Opera, a relationship that began in 1992 when she performed the title role of Rossini’s Ermione, followed by Adalgisa in Bellini’s Norma in 1998. The Italian soprano thrilled San Francisco Opera audiences in 2015 when she returned to perform two roles in repertory: Cassandre in Berlioz’s Les Troyens and Cesira in the world premiere of Marco Tutino’s Two Women, the latter a role that was composed with her in mind. The San Francisco Chronicle called her Cassandre “riveting” and proclaimed her Cesira “a dynamo of emotional and vocal majesty.”
Along with La Voix humaine, Antonacci and Sulzen will perform Berlioz’s dramatic ballade “La mort d’Ophélie” (“The Death of Ophelia”) and a series of art songs, including Debussy’s trio of erotic mélodies set to poems by Pierre Louÿs, Chansons de Bilitis, and Poulenc’s seven-part song cycle La fraîcheur et le feu (The Cool and the Fire), which the composer dedicated to Igor Stravinsky.
San Francisco Opera presented Nicolas Joël’s production of La Voix humaine on the stage of the War Memorial Opera House in 1979 with the famed Italian soprano Magda Olivero as Elle, and it was revived in 1986 for American soprano Karan Armstrong.
About Anna Caterina Antonacci:
Renowned Italian soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci made her San Francisco Opera debut in the title role of Rossini’s Ermione in 1992 and also appeared with the Company in 1998 as Adalgisa in Bellini’s Norma. In 2015, she returned to San Francisco Opera to portray Cassandre in Berlioz’s Les Troyens and Cesira in the world premiere of Marco Tutino’s Two Women, the latter a role that was composed with her in mind. Since 2013, Antonacci has made a specialty of Poulenc’s La Voix humaine with acclaimed performances in Paris, San Antonio, New York and Liège. Other career highlights include Cassandre at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, Teatro alla Scala and the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; the title role in Monteverdi’s L’Incoronazione di Poppea at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées; the title role of Medea in Toulouse, at the Epidaurus Amphitheatre Greece, Turin’s Teatro Regio and at Paris’ Châtelet; the title roles of Carmen in London, Alceste in Parma and Salzburg, Armide at La Scala and Faure’s Pénélope in Paris and Strasbourg. She is also revered as a recitalist in Italian and French repertory, especially Berlioz’s La Mort de Cléopatre which she performed with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, Hong Kong Philharmonic and London Philharmonic Orchestra. She has been honored with the title Chevalier de l’Orde National de la Légion d’honneur by the French Republic, the highest national distinction for an artist. Her discography includes Era la Notte (Naïve), L’Alba separa dalla luce l’ombra (Wigmore Live) and DVDs of her portrayals of Carmen, Medea, and Cassandre. Recent and upcoming engagements include Werther at Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Liceu, Pénélope at La Monnaie Brussels, Gloriana at the Teatro Real Madrid, La Voix humaine and Il segreto di Susanna at the Teatro Regio Turin and Les Troyens at the Wiener Staatsoper.
About Donald Sulzen:
American pianist Donald Sulzen is internationally admired as a collaborator with some of the world’s most celebrated singers, including Anna Caterina Antonacci, Laura Aikin, Thomas Cooley and James Taylor. A native of Kansas City, Sulzen pursued his musical studies at University of North Texas and continued at the École Normale de Musique in Paris under Jules Gentil.Hisextensive concert activity includes performances in the most prestigious recital halls of Europe, the United States, South America and Japan.Also a leading educator, Sulzen has taught for several years at the Mozarteum in Salzburg and is a professor for the instruction of song duos at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Munich, where he presently resides. A member of the Munich Piano Trio since 2001, he can be heard on many of the acclaimed chamber ensemble’s recordings, including Antonín Dvořák: Piano Trio, Op. 65 / Dumky Trio, Op. 90 (Genuin) and Georg Schumann: Piano Trios 1 & 2 (CPO). His discography also includes the live recording of the highly acclaimed L'alba separa dalla luce l'ombra with Anna Caterina Antonacci, released on Wigmore Live.
.For the complete press release, including full program details, please view the attached PDF.