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19 May - 12:01 am NZ
Starts at 8:00 pm on Monday, 28 May 2012
Music Alive features the Swedish mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter’s Auckland recital recorded when she visited New Zealand late last year with her Swedish pianist Bengt Forsberg. The programme includes songs by Stenhammer, Sibelius, Schubert, Liszt, Grainger, Korngold, Weill, Andersson, and Grieg. This was von Otter’s first visit to New Zealand. Before she arrived, The Listener’s Rod Biss spoke to her by phone from Stockholm.
“Well, I couldn’t wait any longer. I’ve kept putting it off. I had wanted to bring my children when they were young – but now they’re adults and don’t want to come, so finally I decided that I’m just going to go.”
Promoter Roger King, who masterminded the visit, heard from a colleague in Australia that Sydney Opera House was bringing her out for its recital series in the Utzon Room and he got on the phone to von Otter’s management to see if there was any chance of her coming on to New Zealand as well. It turned out she had a week between then and her next stop, San Francisco. “And so,” von Otter says, “I’m finally on my way!”
It was when von Otter started singing in the choir at school that she discovered “singing Bach motets and Bach oratorios was absolutely divine – I learnt a lot from doing that”. In 1981, she went to London to study at the Guildhall School of Music with Vera Rózsa. “She was terribly important to me. The way she wanted to hear me sing – and I think Kiri as well – was with a lot of head voice [and] not to sing too heavily.” Rózsa told her what she should be singing – roles such as Cherubino in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro and Octavian in Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier. She wanted her to do competitions, and pushed her to find an agent.
“All very sound and good advice.” (Source: Rod Biss / The Listener)
This concert was recorded live in the Auckland Concert Chamber by Radio New Zealand
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