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Tempestuous Francesca da Rimini opens Concertgebouw Saturday matinee series

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Two Russian love letters to the tragic thirteenth century noblewoman Francesca da Rimini inaugurated the Saturday matinee series at the Concertgebouw.

The elegantly precise Stanislav Kochanovsky returned to the NTR ZaterdagMatinee to lead the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic in thrillingly tumultuous performances of Tchaikovsky’s symphonic fantasy, Francesca da Rimini and the eponymous one-act opera by Sergei Rachmaninov.

Kochanovsky managed to suggest echoes of human cries by filing a sharp edge onto the winds and strings. This piercing orchestral quality contrasted with the restrained lyricism of the love scene, which culminates, as in Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, in the brutal interruption of an ecstatic embrace. As in his earlier appearances conducting Russian operas in Amsterdam, Kochanovsky proved a masterful storyteller, knowing when to go in for grand gestures, as in the violent tornados of both finales, as well as how to let a passage such a Tchaikovsky’s refined romance release its perfume gradually.

Kochanovsky displayed how expertly he uses space and dynamics to bring details to the fore.

Jenny Camilleri | OperaToday.com

Maestro Stanislav Kochanovsky has the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra play delicately. The sounds he evokes from the broadcasting orchestra, especially in the intimate moments, have such a rich texture that you can almost feel them physically.

Jordi Kooiman | Place de l'Opera

With graceful gestures, he led the orchestra through all the pitfalls (and there are a few!) In Tchaikovsky's score. And the middle part, the love duet, that was so beautiful that it hurt. He really let the Radio Philharmonic Orchestra play velvety.

BasiaConFuoco.com | Basia Jaworski