I heard a concert by the Met Orchestra Musicians on Feb 21, 2021. The title of the concert was “Song to the Moon” and it was built around the Song to the Moon, sung by the title character of Dvořák's *Rusalka.* The program opened with Dvořák’s String Quintet No. 2, played by five member of the Met Orchestra: Nancy Wu and Bruno Eicher, violins, Désirée Elsevier, viola, Kari Jane Docter, cello, and Leigh Mesh, double bass. Their playing was juicy and elegant, full of the drama, drive, and flexibility you want to hear in great Romantic music. Maybe I’m reading into this, but it seems like when you hear a concert during the pandemic, you can sense the excitement of the performers to be doing a performance. Not always the case when you’re doing this day in day out. I’ll give a special shout out to cellist Kari Jane Doctor, she had quite a lot of solo playing in this piece and there was a touching emotional quality to her playing, it was a joy to hear.
The headliner for the concert was soprano Angela Gheorghiu, performing with pianist Alexandru Petrovici from the stage of the Romanian Athenaeum in Bucharest. The two of them were magically combined with the string quintet and percussionist Gregory Zuber, performing in New York. They performed two pieces: first, a setting of the Lord’s Prayer by Anton Pann, arranged by Andrei Tudor. Gheorghiu sounded great, her voice was full of color and richness. She had a moment of zero-gravity arms at the end, I love that. The second selection, the Song to the Moon, was played by the same ensemble, minus the percussionist, in a special arrangement by violist Désirée Elsevier. Gheorghiu was every inch the grand diva, both in her singing and in her deportment. And you KNOW I love that. Maybe her singing was a little under pitch now and then, but it was fully committed at its pitch level. The flatness seemed to add an extra layer of involvement and desperation to her performance. I’m serious!
Here she is singing it in 2011 in Seoul: