Farewell to a wonderful singer
As reported last week on NPR's classical blog and this morning in the New York Times, the Catalan soprano Montserrat Figueras has died at the age of 69. Known almost exclusively for performances and recordings with her husband, viola da gamba player and conductor Jordi Savall, Figueras sang with a voice that defies easy description, but which would never be mistaken for any other's (with the possible exception of that of her daughter, singer, harpist and composer Arianna Savall). While extremely cultivated, her style exemplified the close proximity of classical "early music" with the vernacular styles of the day, and provided a compelling alternative to the English cathedral style that dominates early music singing. Here is Montserrat Figueras, on stage in Barcelona, as La Musica in the prologue to Claudio Monteverdi's L'Orfeo, conducted (after a grand entrance) by Savall. And here she is (audio only), singing an anonymous setting of words by St. Teresa of Ávila, with Savall providing interludes on the gamba. We'll remember her unique artistry with two selections on Monday and more throughout the week during our daily classical music on WFCR.