Carnegie's new hall tuned up & ready to go
HOWARD KISSEL DAILY NEWS CRITIC
Zankel Hall, Carnegie's third auditorium.
Hall brought in an unusual "mechanic" to test its new $72 million
afternoon - soprano Renee Fleming. Fleming sang two arias "in the
interests of seeing what she can do," she joked to the preview audience
- the "she" being the 600-seat, Judy and
Arthur Zankel Hall on Carnegie's lower level.
First, Fleming sang Richard Strauss' lush song "Cacilie" (with no
less an "accompanist" than the distinguished pianist Emanuel Ax).
Then she sang Strauss' hushed "Morgen," every quiet syllable of which
resonated through the hall.
the acoustics are excellent.
more impressive proof of what "she" could do came a few minutes later,
when Fleming sang Heitor Villa-Lobos' haunting Bachiana Brasileira
No. 5, part of which the singer hums to an accompaniment of eight
cellos. It was crystal clear.
Hall, which opened last night with a concert for benefactors and which
will have its official public bow tomorrow, was designed by Polshek
can be used conventionally, with the audience facing the stage, as
it did yesterday, or informally, with the audience surrounding the
idea of having a third auditorium was part of industrialist Andrew
Carnegie's original vision for the building. For much of Carnegie
Hall's 113- year history, the lower space has been a theater, most
recently a cinema.
preview concert featured not only Fleming and Ax (who performed a
shimmering Debussy "Pagodes" before accompanying Fleming) but a septet
by contemporary American composer Lou Harrison (conducted by composer
John Adams, who will lead tomorrow night's concert), a set by jazz
great Kenny Barron's quintet and one by the African-oriented Fula
Concerts in the next two weeks will demonstrate the range of offerings
that will characterize the new space, from Pierre Boulez leading the
Ensemble Intercontemporain to Latin American music performed by Yo-Yo
Ma to pop songwriter Randy Newman to dramatic monologist Anna Deavere
Smith to Baroque specialist Ton Koopman leading the Orchestra of St.
Luke's to the Senegalese music of Youssou N'Dour.
the opening weekend offerings is a $5 Family Concert on Saturday at
11 a.m., with music from the Andes.
published on September 11, 2003