(above: Hélène Grimaud is looking at you...photo via Deutsche Grammophon/Mat Hennek)
Opera Chic is on her way -- this coming Friday -- to Parma, Auditorio Paganini, to check out Hélène Grimaud -- that French-but-not-French, female-but-not-female walking dichotomy -- in a Schumann/Beethoven/Brahms concert with Daniel Harding and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra.) La Elena is frequently on OC's play-list (Beethoven's Choral Fantasy from her "Credo" disc with Esa-Pekka Salonen is among our favorite readings of the work... delicate but stripped of both sappiness and winbaggery) and she also gets props for her non-profit wolf preservation/conservation benchmarks. Maestro Harding (pictured below with prosthetic sideburns in a scene from Alessandro Baricco's film "Lezione 21", conducting Beethoven's Seventh in the snow) is also an Opera Chic favorite -- but the talented young British conductor is not scheduled to appear at la Scala this season despite an excellently reviewed Bartok-Dallapiccola double bill last season, truly a memorable night, but then la Scala's recent penchant to hire conductors in a rather pedestrian mode forces OC to have to catch Harding elsewhere, at least for for the foreseeable future...
We're just happy that in Parma we'll be able to see Harding -- nobody's perfect, he is a Manchester United fan after all -- with Grimaud, the Montblanc Brand Ambassador who adds Dmitri Bashkirov, Gidon Kremer, and Martha Argerich to her list of BFFs on her Blackberry (HG has also performed with some of OC's favorite conductors -- Uncle Solly Temirkanov, Claudione Abbado, Chailly, Luisi).
We're expecting that trademark Grimaud sound...delicate yet driven, deep yet unsentimental, confident yet unassuming (click here for some clips from her new Bach CD) and Harding -- well, since he can conduct in the woods, in the bleak midwinter, he is a perfect match to make music with the Wolf Lady.