Ferrucio Furlanetto in Recital with Igor Tchetuev

Ferrucio Furlanetto in Recital with Igor Tchetuev
Presented by Opera Australia at the City Recital Hall, Sydney. 27th September and 29th September 2017

Hailed as “the world’s finest bass”, Ferrucio Furlanetto made his opera debut at La Scala Milam in 1979 in Verdi’s Macbeth. Since then he has sung in opera houses all over the world, in roles from Don Giaovanni to Mephistopheles to Don Quixote. He is also widely acclaimed as a concert singer on the international stage.

Born in the Ukraine in 1980, pianist Igor Tchetuev has performed in France, Prague, Berlin and St Petersburg – and as a soloist with the Miami New World Symphony and the Israel Chamber Orchestra. His recordings have received many accolades, especially that of the first six volumes of the Complete Beethoven Sonatas.

Together they are a formidable musical alliance, a tour de force that has entertained audiences around the world. In this special program, presented over two evenings, they performed Franz Schubert’s haunting Winterreise (Winter’s Journey) based on the poems by Wilhelm Muller, and a selection of Russian songs, on similar themes, by Rachmaninov and Mussorgsky.

In Winterreise, a song cycle for voice and piano, they evoke the chill of winter in Muller’s gloomy, cheerless words and Schubert’s evocative music. In low, resonating notes, Furlanetto sings sadly of chilly days, the icy fingers of frost, bare trees, lost love and tears that “freeze to ice like cool morning dew”. Beside him Tchetuev’s deft fingers conjure Schubert’s notes into softly falling snow, an “untamed river”, stormy winds, “vigilant barking dogs” and the lonely, numb-fingered hurdy-gurdy man.

The Russian Program is slightly less depressing! The contrasts and similarities in the

compositions allow Furlanetto to use the full power of his incredible range and his poignant control – and Tchetuev to reveal his sensitive and compassionate manipulation of the notes.

Highlights of the songs by Rachmaninov were the chilling rendition of Fate, who, with her tiresome knocking “like a terrible sentinel, follows us everywhere” – and the contrasting brightness of the coming of spring in The Fields are Still Covered With Snow.

The songs by Mussorgsky summoned a variety of pace and emotion. Tchetuev’s fingers flew over the notes in varying speeds in Trepak (The Russian Dance) as Furlanetto’s cadences and inflections invoked the different moods of the dancers. The picture of Death knocking at the door of a child in Lullaby was far from soothing, and the fate of the doomed soldier in Field Marshall was depressing, albeit stirring at times.

Two very different nights of music performed by two international concert performers! What a privilege!

Carol Wimmer

Image: Ferrucio Furlanetto (Courtesy Opera Australia)/

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