THESSALONIKI, 7 March 2005
"Interpretations with sensitivity and style"
Lisa Xanthopoulou at the helm of Thessaloniki State Orchestra
Review: ANTONIS I. KONSTANTINIDES
The concert by Thessaloniki State Orchestra that we attended at this city's Concert Hall on Friday, February 25th, was an outstanding cultural event which should not go unnoticed. Its special quality was an effect that should be a given at any concert. On the one hand, there was a special and interesting theme, in this case "birds", and on the other hand, a clear interpretational perspective.
Perspective and Aesthetics
At the rostrum at the helm of the orchestra was Lisa Xanthopoulou, one of our home town's own conductors, who lives and works abroad, treating her music-loving compatriots to a special evening. We have had occasion in the past to hear Ms Xanthopoulou at work. Stability which coincides with clarity, with regard to the interpretational intentions of her conducting, sensitivity as well as style, which can alternate at will according to the demands of the works, are only some of the determinants which may be of very minor significance to the listener compared to the resulting sound. Yet Lisa Xanthopoulou's conducting always leaves an overriding impression. It is a fertile combination of her professional qualifications and experience earned within the German world of music with the special disposition, the light and warmth of Mediterranean idiosyncrasy, as well as a feminine essence.
The Birds of Music
Those aforementioned elements, clarity and stability, became apparent from the very beginning of the first work, the well-know suite by Tchaikovsky from his ballet Swan Lake. Distinctive phrasing and melodic breathing gave the work a particular force. The interpretation we heard from the State Orchestra, at its best on this evening, brought the delicate introspection of romanticism to the fore boldly, but without excess. The melodiousness, transparent and clear over the orchestral foundation, balanced and harnessed the inherent lyricism without allowing it to override the overall result. The feeling was welcome and unique, based on a view of aesthetics that is quite undeniable....
The key work of the concert was Stravinsky's Firebird Suite. In this work, written for the famous Ballets Russes of Diaghliev, the polychrome orchestral palette, the use of Russian folk melodies and the intense rhythmic fervor render an explosive result, aptly reflecting the Russian spirit. That dynamic magic of rhythm and color was echoed in a remarkable performance.