Classical Album of the Week

Classical Album of the Week

Patricia Petibon: La Belle Excentrique

When you put together a recital program, you have to consider a lot of different things.

How do the songs fit together? What kind of a story you want to tell? How much variation would you like to have in the program? The list goes on. When you hear and see Patricia Petibon, which I was recently lucky enough to do, all of these factors come together in flawless harmony.

She is intense in her presence, precise in her singing, exact in her expression and very, very funny. The program is deliberately put together, allowing the audience to lean back and enjoy what is being served. And when any given song requires further illustration with body, voice or even props, she simply just does it.

This is also the case with TIDAL’s Classical Album of the Week.

On La Belle Excentrique, Petibon makes a welcome return to French repertoire as she sings classic chansons by composers such as Satie, Poulenc and Fauré, and introduces songs by lesser known composers such as Hahn and Rosenthal. On the album Petibon is accompanied by distinguished pianist Susan Manoff, her faithful musical partner of many years, with guest appearances by star-violinist Nemanja Radulovic and actor Olivier Py, among others.

(Photo: © Felix Broede / DGG)

Enjoy this week’s album with one of the most versatile vocal artists of today. As an extra treat, I had the chance to chat with Ms. Petibon about performance, repertoire and the anti-conformist composers she feels close to on this album.

What is your approach to singing and performing in general?

Being on stage means forgetting everything one has learned and to be able to risk and let oneself go in order to transmit compellingly.

Where do you get the inspiration to your recital programs and repertoire?

When I work with Susan Manoff (with whom I have been working and making programs for more than 15 years), we develop the repertoire by working especially on the improvisation and theatricality in order to breathe new life into this music of the past. It is a work in layers, like sedimentation, and it takes place particularly when we’re on stage together, it’s a kind of letting go. We leave space for a sort of improvisation, keeping some freshness in the interpretation of a recital. Each recital is different because we interact with the audience. Working with Andrea Marcon is exaclty same. We are familiar enough to take risks on stage, we reinvent the music. In any case, we try.

On your new album you sing a variety of chansons by composers such as Poulenc and Satie. What is it these composers and their music have to tell us today?

They are actually very close to us, even if they belong to the past century, because they are both anti-conformist composers. Eric Satie was considered as illiterate in classical music and Poulenc represented both gentleman and rascal in his works. Eric Satie is a mix between the absurd, the dadaism, the art song and the popular song. This is very inspiring for a singer.

In which order do you prioritize your time between recitals, concerts and opera performances?

Everything is a priority, it’s the diversity of experiences that nourishes us. Encounters with other artists are important because they help us to progress and to open up.

What are your plans for the coming seasons?

I will do masterclasses, contemporary music, many experiences with other artists, not only from the classical field. It will be a mix of different approaches, a chameleon.

And remember that if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me at:

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