Concert one: Monday 13 June 2011

Maria Radoeva, Serban Vasile, Olesya Petrova, Vazgen Ghazarayan, Anna Leese. Photo © Brian Tarr

Last updated: 14 June 2011

The first of the four preliminary concerts took place on Monday 13 June and featured singers from New Zealand, Armenia, Russia, Bulgaria and Romania.

The winner of Concert One was Olesya Petrova from Russia.

Programme notes are given below.

View a photo gallery from concert one.

Anna Leese - New Zealand

Song to the Moon (Rusalka) - Dvorák

Rusalka is a water-nymph, the daughter of the Spirit of the Lake. In a lakeside glade, she tells the moon of her love for a mortal - the prince who came to bathe in the lake. She longs to become human to be with her prince, but a Water Goblin has warned her of the dangers.

Donde lieta uscì (La bohème) - Puccini

Rodolfo has told Mimì that they must part because she has been flirting with other men, but the real reason is because he cannot bear to watch her die of consumption. Mimì tells Rodolfo to wrap up her few belongings - a ring and a prayer-book - for the concierge to collect. But, she says, he can keep the pink bonnet as a souvenir. She bids him farewell without ill-will.

L'altra notte in fondo al mare (Mefistofele) - Boito

Margherita is a peasant girl who has fallen in love with Faust. She is in prison, accused of poisoning her mother and murdering her illegitimate child. She sings about losing her mind and of her forthcoming execution.

Mercè, dilette amiche (I vespri siciliani) - Verdi

Duchess Elena is about to be married to Arrigo, a young Sicilian. They are both taking part in the 1282 revolution in Palermo against the French occupying forces. Elena thanks her courtiers for their gift of flowers and looks forward to her future happiness.

Vazgen Ghazaryan - Armenia

Il lacerato spirito (Simon Boccanegra) - Verdi

The nobleman Fiesco imprisoned his daughter Maria in his palace in Genoa to keep her away from her lover, the corsair Simon Boccanegra. Maria died after giving birth to Boccanegra's daughter. Fiesco mourns his daughter's death, cursing Boccanegra and accusing the Virgin Mary of not protecting her, then prays to her for forgiveness for his blasphemy.

Son lo spirito che nega (Mefistofele) - Boito

Mefistofele reveals his true diabolical nature to Faust. He is the spirit of darkness and universal ruin; he lives for sin, death and evil; he laughs at the Creator and believes in the destruction of all things good. He roars, swears, hisses...and whistles.

Ves' tobor spit (Aleko) - Rakhmaninov

Aleko has run away from his family to join a band of gypsies. He has fallen in love with Zemfira, but she has now grown tired of him and has taken a new lover. In Aleko's cavatina, he sings of his misfortune in love.

Studia il passo ... Come dal ciel precipita (Macbeth) - Verdi

A band of assassins has gathered to carry out Macbeth's orders to murder Banquo. In the recitative, Banquo warns his son, Fleance, to watch his step and make his escape. Banquo's aria tells of his premonitions of doom as the night grows dark. At last, Macbeth's men attack him, and he dies calling on his son to flee.

Olesya Petrova - Russia

Adieu, fôrets (The Maid of Orleans) - Tchaikovsky

At the end of Act 1 of the story of Joan of Arc, based on Schiller's tragedy, Joan bids farewell to her home. She is grief-stricken at the prospect of leaving her village, but knows that she must join the troops to save France from the invading English.

Mon coeur s'ouvre à ta voix (Samson et Dalila) - Saint-Saëns

Dalila responds to Samson's declaration of love. She declares that her heart opens to his voice, and she longs for him to respond to her caresses and make her drunk with his love. It is all a ploy to get him to reveal the source of his strength to her.

Acerba voluttà (Adriana Lecouvreur) - Cilea

The Princess de Bouillon is waiting to have a secret tryst with her lover, Maurizio. She sings of the bitter pleasures and the tortures of love.

Maria Radoeva - Bulgaria

Agitata da due venti (La Griselda) - Vivaldi

Princess Constanze loves Roberto but feels she must obey her king, Gualtiero, who wants to marry her. She feels like a raging ocean, with the opposing winds of love and duty assailing her. The wild, ferocious setting of the text reflects the turbulence of the violent emotions she is experiencing.

Bel raggio lusinghier (Semiramide) - Rossini

Queen Semiramide is in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, waiting for the arrival of one of her generals, Arsace. She is in love with him and hopes they will marry, following many years of widowhood. She sings of her happiness as she anticipates their marriage.

Quando m'en vo' (La bohème) - Puccini

Musetta makes her entrance at the Café Momus on the arm of a wealthy admirer. She tries to attract the attention of her occasional boyfriend, Marcello, by singing of the admiring looks she receives from all wherever she goes. Musetta enjoys this power and knows that Marcello desires her, although he is trying to ignore her.

Alleluja (Exsultate, jubilate) - Mozart

Mozart wrote the solo religious motet Exsultate, jubilate for the castrato, Venanzio Rauzzini, in 1773. The Alleluja is the final movement and is a sparkling and joyful virtuoso piece.

Şerban Vasile - Romania

Rivolgete a lui lo sguardo (Così fan tutte) - Mozart

This aria was originally written for Act I of Così fan tutte, but is normally replaced by 'Non siate ritrosi'. It is sung by Guglielmo (with Ferrando in attendance) on their first attempt in disguise as 'Albanians' to woo each other's fiancées. He tries to impress the girls with their wondrous merits - claiming that they are handsome, rich, strong and excellent singers and dancers.

Vien, Leonora (La favorita) - Donizetti

King Alfonso XI of Castile is waiting in the gardens of the recently-conquered palace of Alcázar for Leonora di Guzman, his mistress. He wants to divorce his wife and marry Leonora, and sings of his love for her in this sensuous and impulsive aria.

Vy mne pisali ... Kogda by zhizn domashnim krogdom (Eugene Onegin) - Tchaikovsky

Onegin has read Tatyana's letter declaring her love for him and tells her frankly that he can only offer her brotherly love. He is not cut out for marriage; it would be a torment for them both. She should look elsewhere for a man who could return her love.

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