This last weekend I sang in a production of Beethoven 9th Symphony with Phion and Cappella Amsterdam, soloists Andre Morsch, Barbara Kozelj, Aylin Sezer, Marcel Reijans.
It is a piece that cannot fail to win the public. The sheer compositional genius of the 4th movement conclusion will send the audience to their feet, and a professional ensemble will make sure that it stays together and that intonation is cared for, despite the leadership and inconsistenties of the score. The vocal writing is reputedly unfortunate - too high for extended periods of time for the sopranos and tenors, too low to make any volume during the crucial passages for the altos. Phion is a modern orchestra, and even with highly trained voices of Cappella, balance was still an issue. In Enschede, where these photos were taken, the podium had a tiered setup with more extreme height differences, which helped balance immensely.
I found it difficult to sing with full joy and passion, as I had in May, considering the terrible humanitarian situation in Gaza that is unfolding before our very eyes. It feels hypocritical to the extreme to be singing about brotherhood when we in the West are so guilty of trampling on peace and brotherhood in the centuries of colonialism preceding.
I looked upon the audience wondering what this performance brought to them.