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Small gestures, great results

--Frankfurter Neue Presse/Taunuszeitung, regional, 10 February 2003

Small gestures, great results

Bad Homburg. The third prizewinner concert of this season in the Schlosskirche turned out to be a splendid evening, where everything really worked to perfection: an out-of-the-ordinary and very admirable programme concept, the first-class soloist, an extremely interesting conductor, and a very reliable chamber ensemble were the guarantees for a musical experience that one only rarely encounters...... Lisa Xanthopoulou, the prizewinner of the Bad Homburg Conduction Competition last year remained true to her objective manifested in the last concert of conducting classical works only with the utmost discreetness of gesture. Small orchestras in the eighteenth century did not need - and in fact would not have needed - the sweeping gestures of its own conductor positioned in front. Concise and utterly precise, Lisa Xanthopoulou sculpted out the dance elements of the two minuets in the Divertimento in D-major by Joseph Haydn, and modulated the figural variations of the first movement without using the baton, merely gentle suggestions of her hands.
Conducting the Cologne Sinfonietta, the Greek artist worked far more intuitively in the Intermezzo by Franz Schreker. Her skill of suggestion was such that her interpretation of the Romantic composition likened a dense and ecstatic sound painting.
With impulsive temperament, Xanthopoulou and her instrumentalists from Cologne presented their interpretation of the "Italian Serenade" by Hugo Wolf, and, finally, she thanked her wildly applauding public in the Schlosskirche by playing as an encore the work that helped her convince the jury at the conducting competition last year: the second Elegiac Melody by Edvard Grieg.


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