"To be totally honest, Bach and opera music usually make me uncomfortable. Swarms of bees and car crashes come to mind, but György Ligeti’s Requiem performed by the San Francisco Symphony and the Swedish soprano soloist Hannah Holgersson in Davies Symphony Hall thrilled me."
Hannah Holgersson, the soprano who gained her reputation in Stockholm, was hand picked for the Requiem performance in San Francisco because of her special competence in this piece. Holgersson and the Swedish mezzo soprano Annika Hudak are among the few people in the world who have mastered the solo parts. All three concerts were sold out.
Because Requeim is described as full of depth and spirit, for a “beginner” like me this could be daunting. But I thoroughly enjoyed the evening’s performances. The program began with Giovanni Gabrieli's In Ecclesiis, a Renaissance piece, conducted by the Swede Ragnar Bohlin, director of the San Francisco Symphony Chorus, which enveloped the audience by performing on stage and in the aisles. In the second half the pianist Martha Argerich wasted no time in establishing her brilliance. I left Davies Hall appreciating the concert as beautiful and surreal. What impressed me most was the soloists' razor sharp precision. The audience responded with standing ovations. I smiled proudly at my three talented countrymen who made my first visit to Davies Hall so pleasurable.
"Thursday's performance threw a spotlight on the excellence of the Symphony Chorus ... under director Ragnar Bohlin, and included fine symphony debuts by soprano Hannah Holgersson and mezzo-soprano Annika Hudak. The resulting applause was longer and more heartfelt than a modern score usually receives..." wrote The San Francisco Chronicle in a favorable review after the concert.
Ragnar Bohlin began his tenure as Chorus Director of the San Francisco Symphony in March 2007. Holgersson and Hudak were both visiting the area from their native Sweden for the concerts. For more info, see www.hannahholgersson.se
Written by Cecilia Johansson
More info, see www.sacc-usa.org/sf