Stepping in with Berlin Philharmonic | Beethoven Symphony no. 9
On November 21, 2015, Susanna Phillips stepped in to join Maestro Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic for their New York City performance of Beethoven’s iconic 9th Symphony at Carnegie Hall. Susanna was taking the place of Annette Dasch, who was under the weather, and joined on stage with the previously Eva Vogel (Mezzo-Soprano), Christian Elsner (Tenor), and Dimitry Ivashchenko (Bass).
“One could hardly imagine a more impressive array of vocal forces, the impressive solo singers primarily from the opera world who could be heard with no difficulty from behind the orchestra. Of the quartet Dimitry Ivashchenko was assertive and formidable in “O Freude, nicht diese Töne!” and Christian Elsner gave a heroic reading of “Froh, froh, wie seine Sonnen”. Susanna Phillips, who subbed for the ailing Annette Dasch, sang with strength, tonal transparency and unfailing pitch. Eva Vogel joined with Phillips in a few memorable moments when they were paired against the male soloists in “Freude Tochter aus Elysium”. The sheer size of the Westminster Symphonic Choir (about 250 members) enhanced the vigor of its contribution – add to which extraordinary clarity and superlative enunciation.”
(Lewis M. Smoley, Classical Source, November 2015)
“Nevertheless, out of silence, Maestro Rattle conjured the most delicate, initial statement of the “Freude” theme in the Berliner Philharmoniker’s bass section and contoured the remaining entrances to form the foundation of a transformed tonal landscape. Bass Dimitry Ivashchenko, one of the few people permitted to tell Maestro Rattle “nicht diese Töne” (no more of these sounds!), entered with enough volume to peel the red velvet off Carnegie’s seats. The Westminster Symphonic Choir rallied behind him in ecstatic rapture, and the tune took the usual course. Soprano Susanna Phillips, stepping in for Annette Dasch, mezzo Eva Vogel, and tenor Christian Elsner, joined Ivashchenko for Beethoven’s strange and agile falling-tone melody with great precision. Written in a pseudo-contrapuntal style reminiscent of Baroque oratorio, the singers did not make their lines sound easy or lyrical for that matter, but instead reveled in Beethoven’s unique, surly gaiety.”
(Jacob Slattery, backtrack, November 2015)