By Daniel Walton
Asheville Stages
March 21, 2023 – Asheville, NC:

“As a cellist for more than 20 years, it was with a mix of admiration and envy that I watched Ana Vidović play her second encore at the First Baptist Church of Asheville on March 18. The Croatian-born guitarist was taking one of my instrument’s signature pieces — the Prelude to Johann Sebastian Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major — and making an elegant case that it should have been composed for hers instead.”

“The soloist emerged onstage in a flashy, floor-length dress of metallic gold and wasted no time establishing a lively tempo in the Spanish showpiece’s first movement. Yet her rapid-fire runs retained a crystalline clarity, as if each note was a single stone still visible beneath a rushing stream. The ASO’s flutes kept up nicely to contribute extra color and volume beneath the guitar.

In the more meditative second movement, conductor Darko Butorac showed admirable restraint as he shaped string decrescendos across long melodic phrases. Vidović responded in kind, translating the motion of the whole orchestra into the different registers of her guitar. But she was equally able to take the lead and strike powerful solo figures, as evidenced in the piece’s vibrant finale. Never did her precise attack feel harsh, even as she strove to match the ensemble at full steam.”

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