Russian triple threat Dmitry Sinkovsky — a violin virtuoso who also conducts and sings countertenor — played an impressive Baroque program with the Seattle Symphony that only included a few rocky moments.
It’s not unusual to encounter a violin soloist who also conducts the orchestra, particularly in the Baroque repertoire. It’s considerably more unusual, however, to hear a countertenor who sings and also conducts.
And it’s downright startling to have a conductor whose program includes his own solos on both violin and voice. That’s what a wildly enthusiastic audience for the Seattle Symphony’s “Baroque and Wine” series heard on Friday evening when conductor/soloist Dmitry Sinkovsky arrived in Benaroya Hall.
First, it must be said that Sinkovsky did not play the violin and sing at the same time, though I wouldn’t put it past him. The Moscow-born virtuoso chose a program that alternated between two violin concertos of Vivaldi, three countertenor arias (one by Albinoni, two by Handel) and two works for orchestra without soloist. In that last category were a Corelli Concerto Grosso (Op. 6, No. 11) and a Locatelli Concerto Grosso (Op. 7, No. 6, “Il pianto d’Arianna”).
Seattle Symphony Orchestra: ‘Baroque and Wine’
With conductor/soloist Dmitry Sinkovsky, Friday, May 6, and 8 p.m. Saturday, May 7, at Benaroya Hall, 200 University St., Seattle; $20-$78 (206-215-4747 or seattlesymphony.org).
A dashing, ponytailed figure, Sinkovsky galvanized the audience with his expressive violin as he moved about the stage, facing the Symphony musicians first and then the audience. In the countertenor solos, he made only the most minimal conducting gestures, but these orchestra players are old hands at forging their own ensemble. With a strong lead from concertmaster Elisa Barston, and an equally prominent voice in the principal cello chair (Meeka Quan-DiLorenzo), the 20-piece orchestra sailed through the program with very few rocky moments.
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Guest harpsichordist Jillon Stoppels Dupree had a crucial role in the program; she played with improvisatory flair and great taste. The other principals, all excellent, included Michael Miropolsky (second violin), Mara Gearman (viola) and Joseph Kaufman (bass).
Sinkovsky’s intonation was occasionally variable, both as violinist and as singer, and in the quieter vocal pieces (such as Albinoni’s “Pianta bella”), his voice can sound breathy and unsupported. Elsewhere, though, his vocal passagework was impressive and accurate, displaying solid technical finesse. Sinkovsky’s performance of Handel’s “Furibondo spira il vento” (from “Partenope”) was appropriately fiery and agile.
The “Baroque and Wine” series audience is not always the Symphony’s most demonstrative, but this time there was an ovation for every piece, complete with shouts and whistles. Sinkovsky launched into the encores, which included excerpts from Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” and Handel’s “Rodelinda,” and then some Telemann — they might still be playing as you read this, except that the Symphony members very sensibly arose and exited the stage after the last planned encore.