Sumi Jo & Tomomi Nishimoto in Concert
Lithuanian National Symphony Orchestra
Deutsche Grammophon, 2010
This is a recording that I fear it is not easy to find and, while I was preparing this post, I could not find any information about the occasion or on the recording date, but I want to talk about it anyway since the collaboration of soprano Sumi Jo and conductor Tomomi Nishimoto is absolutely gorgeous.
In Concert is divided into two halves: the first includes the performance of music from the operatic and vocal repertoire, the second is dedicated to Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition in orchestral version.
Sumi Jo appears only in the first part of the concert. She sings an aria from Die Fledermaus (Spiel’ich Unschuld die vom Lande), La traviata (È strano! followed by Sempre libera), Villanelle by Eva dall’Acqua and Lauretta’s aria from Gianni Schicchi (O mio babbino caro). Jo proves again to be a top level soprano and, from time to time, she is witty (Die Fledermaus and Villanelle), bright (La Traviata), and dreamy (Gianni Schicchi), but in every role, even with their differences, Jo is able to impress for her grace. From the technical point of view I do not find nothing to object, her legato is enviable, her agilities secure, her breath long and well sustained.
I dare to say that Tomomi Nishimoto is the perfect conductor for Jo, because they intend each other very well, maybe because they share a similar spirit. He demonstrates a propensity for brilliance and brightness: in Die Fledermaus, he reminds you of the magic of the Viennese Waltz, which fades when we enter in the sick Violetta’s room with a prelude of Traviata, where the director emphasizes the desolation and the squalor, but revives when the Amami Alfredo tune appears.
It is clear that the most important part of the album is that devoted to Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. Here Nishimoto shows a completely different spirit (but this remark is a little superfluous, isn’t it?) and realizes a superb creation: the Gnome has something disturbing, the Old castle evokes mysterious and remote landscapes, the Catacombs are almost scary and finally The Great Gate of Kiev concludes the cycle with impressive solemnity. The “pictures” are suggested in an extremely fine and dramatic way, with attention to every detail and to the peculiarities of each piece, which Nishomoto stresses with great clarity and efficacy.