We get to hear our court singers Hillevi Martinpelto and Ingrid Tobiasson in duets and solo songs by, among others, Schumann, de Frumerie, Sibelius and Tchaikovsky accompanied by pianist Bengt Forsberg. Recitation by Miriam Forsberg.
They became court singers almost simultaneously, Ingrid Tobiasson (mezzo-soprano) and Hillevi Martinpelto (soprano): in 2000 and 2006. By then they had already belonged to our singing elite for a couple of decades. Together we heard them in, for example, Aida. It happens to be exactly ten years since they last participated together in an opera at the Royal Opera: Queen of Spades, March 2012. Nowadays, they usually perform more intimate repertoire, for example Swedish songs. Almost all great composers wrote beautiful duets for home musicians, where the voices are intertwined in beautiful sounds over the safe bottom of the piano. At our concert, of course, it will be Bengt Forsberg who accompanies the singers.
We do not hear them as often as before but we have the chance now. It is often a special pleasure to hear musicians who have been in a long professional life meet and for their own pleasure - and ours! - perform things we may not have heard before.
Schumann : 4 duets op. 103
Ullén : Once the tree bloomed
Rossini ur Messe Solenelle: Qui tollis
Sibelius : Jubal op. 35 no. 1 5
Tchaikovsky : 6 Duets, op. 46
Bach: Duet in A minor BWV 805
Helena Munktell : The Night of the East
Saint-Saëns : Pastoral
Ivar Hallström : The song
Presentation of participants
Hillevi Martinpelto and Ingrid Tobiasson have met on stage in several operas, such as in Verdi's Aida and Sven-David Sandström's Batseba. We can listen to their collaboration on Verdi's Don Carlos around the turn of the millennium on three Naxos CDs. They sang their roles in that opera more than 20 times at the Opera, but not always together.
Martinpelto debuted at the Stockholm Opera as Madame Butterfly in December 1987, and in eleven years there were a total of 36 performances of that role - the largest number among the 19 roles she came to sing there. Tobiasson started in minor assignments as early as 1984, and it was instead at the Folkoperan in 1985 that she broke through as Aida. Gradually she got bigger roles also at Gustav Adolf's square, and from January 1990 when she was Elizabeth I of England in Donizetti's Maria Stuarda she was one of the theatre's most important singers who participated in a total of 46 productions there.
Martinpelto returned to the Opera almost every season, but her career has been more international so there were "only" 221 performances - on average just under ten per year, but sometimes significantly more. Instead, we soon learned to associate her with the great conductors who hired her for concerts and opera productions in Brussels, Berlin, Glyndebourne, Vienna, Paris, Milan, Los Angeles and Tokyo: John Eliot Gardiner, Zubin Mehta, Carlo Maria Giulini, Colin Davis , Kurt Masur, Riccardo Muti, Simon Rattle… It often led to gramophone productions of several Mozart operas, Webers Oberon, Spohrs Faust, Verdi's Falstaff and a number of concert works. GöteborgsOperans' reconstructed original version of Verdi's Masquerade Ball ("Gustavo III") in 2002, where she sang Amelia, is also on CD in a live recording.
Meanwhile, Tobiasson became the Stockholm Opera faithful, although she also guest-starred some abroad - perhaps most notable was her Klytämnestra in Strauss Elektra, which she sang in Frankfurt, Brussels and Rouen in addition to Stockholm. Her 685 performances with the Opera 1984–2018 are a high number for these decades, when the repertoire and the number of performances have decreased. Perhaps she showed her versatility best in the range of roles: from Donizetti via Wagner and Verdi to contemporary composers, and always with clearly portrayed characters, for example in B Tommy Andersson's The Importance of Being Earnest at Vadstena Academy 2017. Those who heard her in Meyerbeers The Prophet at Vasan 1999 or the Opera's Grand Opéra Concert in 2004 regrets that such a repertoire did not occur at the Opera during Tobiasson's time.
Despite all the major roles, both Hillevi and Ingrid have also devoted much time to chamber music, preferably together. Some of us remember, among other things, a concert similar to the day's program i Konserthuset 2014. We are looking forward to seeing them as a duo.