“Let’s go to the opera!” A new program, which is not only very inviting for the listener, but also presents the enthusiastic musicians of Trio Fibonacci with a unique challenge: to bring out the romantic « Bel Canto » qualities of their instruments by mixing Bellini, Donizetti, Mozart, Meyerbeer, Verdi, Weber and Debussy as well as some more Wagnerian « vocalises » …
Let us remember that before the invention of recordings (wax cylinders, then the vinyl disc, the magnetic tape, the CD then the DVD, as well as platforms like the radio, TV, internet, Walkman, iPod and smartphone), the only music we heard was what we sang or played ourselves. This was « live music » in its truest form – directly from the producer to the consumer, one might say.
However, transporting moving an orchestra or a choir to perform an opera was not an easy task, both logistically and financially. To rehearse and prepare their vocal scores, the singers and directors therefore used working transcriptions for small ensembles (trio or quartets) giving pride of place to the piano and often strings, sometimes winds.
A comprehensive repertoire
The composers themselves very often wrote these transcriptions. But not always: others have specialized in this field, like Renaud de Vilbac (1829-1884) for example, a composer and most of all an organist. His instrument required these transcriptions; he produced several albums of opera arias that, although well known by name and reputation, were in fact rarely heard performed by the people of his time. « A complete repertoire of well-known transcriptions, created before the existence of recordings, » says Gabriel Prynn, the cellist of the Fibonacci Trio.
As part of the concert on Tuesday, April 23, « we wanted to explore the idea of interpreting music with a vocal approach, » he continues. Thanks to the transcribers, music composed for large ensembles could thus be diffused more widely thanks to these versions for smaller instrumental forces. « The trio will sing through its strings by bringing together rare transcriptions of some 19th-century operatic gems, » announces the Fibonacci Trio. Pelleas and Melisande, Norma, The Magic Flute, The Huguenots, L’Elisir d’Amore, Der Freischütz, Il Trovatore, etc., are accordingly also on the program.
Following the natural breath
So how do you reduce an entire opera, voice and orchestra, to three instruments like Steven Massicotte’s piano, Julie-Anne Derome’s violin and Gabriel Prynn’s cello? « By the timbre of the instruments … and a lot of preparatory listening, » smiles Gabriel. « It’s all a question of approaching the vocal register of the singer and the emotion expressed with the right level of sensitivity, » he summarizes. « A transcription is not a simple reproduction of the sung syllables of the libretto. Nor is it only a question of taking up the score of the singer or the orchestra and replaying the notes on our instruments. It is a matter of following the natural breath of the music. Some transcriptions will help us by specifying the voice or instrument represented, or indicate the musical expression or orchestral atmosphere the composer originally had in mind … »
Key works for small ensembles
Over time, and thanks to the development of the repertoire, these transcriptions have become key works for trios, quartets and other small ensembles with strings and / or winds (violin, cello, clarinet, bassoon, etc.).
Moreover, this concert will be a trio of personal favorites, since each instrumentalist will play their favorite piece: « For me, it’s the love duet « Liebesnacht » from Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, » says Gabriel Prynn. « It must be Don Giovanni for Steven Massicotte, » he says. « But for Julie-Anne, I’m not entirely sure … », he admits. We will know more on Tuesday, April 23 at the Bourgie Hall at 7:30 PM.