Raves for Madame Herz with the Orchestra of the 18th Century
I’ve never been accused of NOT wearing my heart on my sleeve, but goodness gracious, mein Herz did overflow every time I heard the opening bars of Mozart’s sublime “L’amerò, saro costante” last month. That’s an aria from his early opera Il rè pastore, and I recently got to sing it many times on tour with the Orchestra of the 18th Century, along with the short, goofy opera Der Schauspieldirektor. This project was meant to have been a full-scale Zauberflöte (in which I would have been First Lady) but had to be scaled down for Covid reasons. I sang Madame Herz a billion years ago in North Carolina; somehow, improbably, in 2021, after the weirdest and most challenging eighteen months of my adult life, here I was, playing her again on the grandest stages of the Netherlands, having a blast pretending to be an outrageous diva in an outrageous gold gown.
I love this orchestra. I love Kenneth Montgomery, who conducted so generously that absolutely anything seemed possible. I love the cast, who brought a zany energy to this production. I love everyone who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make sure musicians have glorious stuff to play and sing and audiences have a show to enjoy. We all need it. Maybe we especially need something goofy at the moment, something to take the existential edge off this year just a bit, something to remind us that music can be for entertainment as well as for serious purposes.
The critics seemed to agree. I got a lot of especially nice mentions this time; some highlights are below.
I’ve been quiet on the blog for a while. My last post took a lot out of me, honestly. (It seemed to hit a nerve, so I’m glad I wrote it. Thanks for all the reactions, public and private.) Since the end of the summer, life has become busier again; as inspiration returns in general, I’m feeling a new post brewing about what it’s been like to resume live performance in this most bizarre of years.
For now, allow me simply to say how glad I am to have spent October with such lovely people singing such wonderful music. It filled my heart in all ways. I hope it isn’t too long before we’re all back together on stage again.
“Zo duiken er steeds onverwachte Mozart-pareltjes op. Een hilarische Duitse dans met feestelijk slagwerk bijvoorbeeld, en de top-aria L’amerò uit Il rè pastore. Die groeit in de ontroerende uitvoering van Katharine Dain moeiteloos uit tot het hoogtepunt van de avond.” —Peter van der Lint, Trouw
“Unexpected Mozart gems keep popping up: a hilarious German dance with festive percussion, for example, and the wonderful aria L’amerò, from Il rè pastore. In Katharine Dain’s moving performance, this aria was easily the highlight of the evening.”
“… zingt sopraan Katharine Dain haar solo zo aanstekelijk stralend dat je hart een sprongetje
maakt.” —Mischa Spel, NRC
“… soprano Katharine Dain sings her solo with such infectious radiance that your heart leaps.”
“Katharine Dain in de wonderschoon gezongen aria ‘l’Amerò, sarò costante’ uit de opera Il rè pastore zorgden voor geweldige opwinding met hun grootse expressie en kloek geluid.” —Franz Straatman, Place de l’Opéra
“Katharine Dain, in the wonderfully sung aria “L’amerò saro costante” from the opera Il rè pastore, caused terrific excitement with her grand expressivity and bold sound.”
“… een mooi intiem en fragiel ‘L’amerò saro costante’ van de sopraan Katharine Dain” —Paul Korenhof, Opus Klassiek
“… a beautifully intimate and fragile “L’amerò saro costante” from soprano Katharine Dain”