Although US appearances over her long career by the splendid Italian diva Anna Caterina Antonacci have been few and far between, she is currently in San Francisco performing a program that includes Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine. For those unable to attend, “Trove Thursday” presents Altre Stelle, a fascinating performance piece which includes superb renditions of excerpts from operas by Berlioz, Cherubini, Gluck and Rameau. 

Altre Stelle with the period orchestra Les Siècles under François-Xavier Roth is the second solo work in which Antonacci has appeared. The first. Era la notte which prominently featured works by Monteverdi, has been recorded and has toured widely including a visit to New York in 2013.

I believe Altre Stelle was done just one season in Europe, and it’s most valuable for preserving the only occasion that Antonacci, a notable Berlioz singer and celebrated Cassandre, has performed Didon’s music from Les Troyens. She sings here his rarely heard La mort d’Orphélie which is also featured on the current San Francisco program.

Mightily impressive is Phèdre’s searing monologue from Rameau’s Hippolyte et Aricie which is sung in French as are the excerpts from Cherubini’s Médée, a work she has otherwise only performed in Italian.

She returns to one of her most great triumphs: the title role of Gluck’s Armide in which she starred on the opening of the 1996 La Scala season. That performance, under Riccardo Muti, remains available for listening or download as part of the 2007 edition of the Parterre Box “Unnatural Acts of Opera’ podcast.

Altre Stelle
Theatre des Champs-Elysees
April 27, 2009

Méhul: Andante
Berlioz: La mort d’Orphélie, part 1
Glück: Sicilienne from Armide
Rameau: Cruelle mère des amours – Hippolyte et Aricie
Glück: Enfin il est en ma puissance
Renaud, Ciel ! mortelle peine
Le perfide Renaud me fuit…
Quand le barbare était en ma puissance – Armide
Ballet des Ombres heureuse – Orphée et Eurydice
Cherubini: – Du trouble affreux qui me dévore – “Médée”
Glück: Air des Furies – “Orphée et Euridyce”
Berlioz: En mer, voyez, six vaisseaux
Ah je vais mourir
Adieu, fière Cité –Les Troyens
La mort d’Ophélie, part 2

Anna-Caterina Antonacci
Les Siècles
Conductor -: François-Xavier Roth

This week’s “Trove Thursday” offering as well can be downloaded via the audio-player included on this page. Just click on the icon of a square with an arrow pointing downward and the resulting mp3 file will appear in your download directory.

In addition, this week’s Antonacci-fest, last week’s Cimarosa confection and more than 60 other “Trove Thursday” podcasts are available from iTunes (for free!) or via any RSS reader.

Photo: Serge Derossi