O.C. is back in Milan almost two months from an extended summer in NYC -- already here long enough to saturate her tongue in delicate, fishy bagna cauda from Trattoria alle Langhe; syrupy fresh marrons glacés from Giovanni Galli (with candied violet flowers layered on top); and all the wintry grappa she can drink (Bocchino cantina privata from the mid '70s...strong with honey, cinnamon, tabasco, and sometimes bread crusts) -- but the arching shade from this past Fall's Lincoln Center events still touches her shoulders: Bernard Haitink & the London Symphony Orchestra's Mahler concerts. Opera Chic was lucky enough to attend all three concerts at Avery Fisher Hall-- Mahler's 4th, 9th, and Das Lied -- so her last tangible Fourth Symphony still resonates from the old Dutch Master, further encouraged by Sinopoli's Complete Mahler recordings with the Philharmonia Orchestra.
This time in Milan, O.C. wasn't going to pass-up hearing Mahler's Fourth live. Although this time it wasn't the Philharmonia or the LSO, but rather the small corps of practiced musicians of Milan's Orchestra I Pomeriggi Musicali, a tight orchestra on Thursday night -- with only 30-ish strings, a dozen woodwinds, and half a dozen brass/horns -- a big enough challenge to master even one of Mahler's lighter symphonies that thankfully calls for a smaller orchestra. So that's where O.C. found herself, at Milan's Teatro dal Verme. Dal Verme's stood in Milan since 1872, inaugurated with Meyerbeer's The Huguenots. It also hosted the Italian premieres of Puccini's opera/ballet Le Villi, Leoncavallo's Pagliacci, and Lehar's Die lustige Witwe.
Thursday's concert featured Swedish soprano Lisa Larsson, who has already cut a few discs in Mozart and Bach, and Torino-born Italian conductor, Antonello Manacorda. Maestro Manacorda, one of the original founders of the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, has been collaborating with IPM since the 2006/07 season when he became the Music Director.