by Paula Citron.
Le Grand Bal des Oiseaux
Festival de Lanaudière 2008
Conducted by Jean-Marie Zeitouni
Soloists Aline Kutan, soprano and Steward Goodyear, piano
Orchestre du Festival
Amphithéâtre de Lanaudière
The concert entitled Le Grand Bal des Oiseaux is a quintessential example of the imaginative, innovative and challenging themed programming of Festival de Lanaudière.
Le Grand Bal des Oiseaux brought together bird-related orchestral works by Liszt, Stravinsky, Messiaen and Canadian composer Antoine Ouellette, and bird-related arias by Handel, Gounod and Saint-Saëns. Outstanding pianist Stewart Goodyear was the Messiaen soloist, while the great coloratura soprano Aline Kutan imitated the birds.
This was a very difficult program in terms of orchestral detail, but conductor Jean-Marie Zeitouni proved why he is one of the bright new talents coming out of Quebec. He led the excellent Orchestre du Festival with empathy, intelligence and emotional clarity. Musicians clearly love to play for him.
Goodyear had flying fingers in Messiaen’s fiendishly furious Oiseaux exotiques, while Kutan continues to find miraculous high notes. The slide show of birds that accompanied Ouellette’s evocative Joie des Grives was delightful.
Festival de Lanaudière continues at Joliette, Quebec until Aug. 3.