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Amor, Amor

Lucie Mlynárová sings straight to the heart of her listeners in Niederfellabrunn Palace. Sensitively accompanied by Prof. Joelle Bouffa on a Bösendorfer 225.

These are life’s pearls. Moments that “ambush” you by surprise. Yet not those that bring unwelcome gifts of grief and sorrow like their dark brethren, but rather moments of rapture and joy - of music and human ability:

Rather than “open museum night,” attending a song recital at Niederfellabrunn Palace was planned. Located in the wine-growing region of Lower Austria, the palace, which looks back upon 400 years of history, is just under an hour’s drive from the center of Vienna and is a little mecca for lovers of sublime chamber music. For over 20 years, between April and October first-class music matinees and evening performances have taken place. I also like to drive to Niederfellabrunn for these concerts, since for all these years Bösendorfer pianos have proudly graced the palace’s concert room. The presenter of the chamber music concerts is the Kulturkreis Niederfellabrunn, actively directed by Walter Riemer, an electrical engineer by training and vocation, and a pianist and fortepiano expert by avocation.

Niederfellabrunn Palace looks back upon a long history.

Niederfellabrunn Palace looks back upon a long history.

Last Saturday, October 3, the program was a lied recital with Czech soprano Lucie Mlynárová, accompanied by Joelle Bouffa, voice professor at the University of Music and the Performing Arts in Vienna. According to the program, it was there - in addition to Prague Conservatory - that the Czech artist studied singing and lied. Her earlier teacher at the Vienna University of Music, Prof. Claudia Visca, was likewise among the large audience in the full concert room.

Lucie Mlynárová (right) and Joelle Bouffa (left)

Lucie Mlynárová (right) and Joelle Bouffa (left)

With voice and body

Already upon her entrance, the Czech artist radiated warmth and geniality; personal virtues which the audience was able to enjoy through the entire lied recital. In front of the Bösendorfer there stood - it was noticeable immediately - a woman who loved her work and her audience.

Because Lucie Mlynárová is the personal lied interpreter of contemporary Czech composer Lubos Sluka, the soprano opened her recital with Czech melodies. In the program booklet, the texts of these songs could also be read in German translation. Hardly any of the listeners did so, however. Rather, we not only followed Lucie’s high, fresh-as-daisy voice with utter fascination, we also followed the movements of her arms and hands, her head, eyes and lips. One didn’t have to understand Czech to know that she sang of the loss of a sweetheart, of the sun and beautiful weather, of disproportionate splendors or of a wedding dress.

A wonderful lyrical soprano voice, enriched by expressive gestures and facial expressions

A wonderful lyrical soprano voice, enriched by expressive gestures and facial expressions

Subsequent songs by Franz Schubert, Franz Xaver Mozart and Richard Strauss were largely about love and emotions. In musical purity and expressive authenticity, the soprano cast a spell on her devoted audience.

Most stirring of all excellently performed songs was when Lucie Mlynárová sang of the refreshing, smiling, clever child who breaks the shepherdess’s heart. An impish poem by Clemens von Brentano, impishly set to music by Richard Strauss and impishly sung by the artist. No wonder that the audience demanded 'Amor, Amor' once again as a final encore by Lucie Mlynárová and Joelle Bouffa, before happily making their way home under the full moon...

Shouts of 'bravo', much applause and flowers for Lucie Mlynárová and Joelle Bouffa, given by the contented presenter

Shouts of 'bravo', much applause and flowers for Lucie Mlynárová and Joelle Bouffa, given by the contented presenter

A report by Rupert Löschnauer

(Photo credits: Kulturkreis Niederfellabrunn, rulö)