You got to love the access Facebook gives into the mind of performers. Coutertenor David Daniels, who obviously manages his account himself, sold his concerts with the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra thusly: "I've always thought the Pergolesi Stabat Mater was strange piece of music. Although beautiful, the text [about the grief of Mary at the Crucifixion] never really matched up with the music for me. It's just a little too jaunty and dance-like for sitting at the foot of the cross." We caught the SF performance on Friday evening under the baton of Nic McGegan.
Sure enough, there were some jaunty, peppy tunes. The final "Amen" did sound like the sweet punch line of a tender wisecrack. But the dramatic moments, when the music achingly evoked the pain of the lyrics, stood out. Daniels had his, a rather angry bit along some brutal bowings from the string orchestra ("Fac ut portem Christi mortem") and his counterpart, soprano Carolyn Sampson had the audience hanging from her lips in a pianissimo ending that just hung in the air.