Palau de la Música Catalana

Diana Damrau is one of the best sopranos in the world. Ms. Damrau will perform at Palau de la Música Catalana with Xavier de Maistre.

What feeling do you have about the Palau de la Música Catalana? And what do you think about Barcelona?

I’m back for the second time to perform at the Palau de la Música Catalana, I am very happy and very much looking forward to be back after our recital with Helmut Deutsch and Jonas Kaufmann „Das Italienische Liederbuch“. For this occasion we bring a very interesting program that creates a special aura of constellation.

Just having performed Ophélie in Thomas’ opera „Hamlet“ at the Liceu I am excited to come back to your beautiful town with all its art and music and its great people (and weather) 🙂

What is it like to be on stage with Xavier de Maistre? And with an instrument as special as the harp?

I have been performing with the soloist and virtuoso of the harp Xavier de Maistre for more than 10 years and we are pleased to offer you our completely new fifth program!

The harp is a wonderful harmonic instrument and comes from the lyre, the first accompaniment instrument. This instrument is capable of producing more sounds than we can imagine. From the first rehearsal and going over songs with Xavier, I was very surprised and immediately we decided to create a program together. De Maistre has a great intuition for poetry and singers and this makes him an ideal companion on stage.

Singing with the accompaniment of the harp is different than with the piano, you expose yourself more as a singer, you can do anything and also have a wider range with the softer sounds, but also a shorter “reverberation”. You can’t play everything with the harp (like for example strong and repetitive chord scores like Schubert’s “Erlkönig”), but I would say that perhaps 85% of the song repertoire can be played with this instrument. We have sung, for example, Dvořák’s “Zigeunerlieder”, as well as many songs by Richard Strauss, a repertoire that no one considers for the harp, initially.

How would you describe the repertoire that you will sing?

This time the repertoire is slightly romantic and sweet… we could call it „souffle romantique“. We have chosen selections of songs by Mendelssohn, Rachmaninov, Vlasov, Hahn, Ravel and Poulenc. Xavier will also perform two solo pieces for harp.

The Mendelssohns come out of the tradition of „Hausmusik“, are mainly stanzas and simpler than the more impressionist Rachmaninov, for which the accompaniment is a real partner in expression, dialogue and atmosphere. You can feel the Russian soul. With the French songs in the 2nd half of the programme we have a lot of different colours and harmonics, sonorous, airy, „chansonesque” and folkloric to the great harmonics of Poulenc with his intellect and humour.

The best thing to do is listen and enjoy these beautiful pieces of music with hidden treasures of rarely performed songs.