O, I agree with your father. She performed the same program in Mannheim and for me it couldn't have been better chosen (well, maybe I'd have preferred the E minor Mozart sonata...no, come to think of it, the sunnier A major worked better wedged between Janáček and Tartini). The encores were by Paganini, Prokofiev (the March from Love For Three Oranges) and Enesco.
The sheer beauty of her tone was astonishing but I occasionally wished she'd dig a little deeper: the major disappointment was Janáček: it could have been spikier, grittier. I understand what your father means about control: she does seem almost the control-freak on some of her recordings. I think she can underplay the emotion but it was less evident here. Live it's not such a big deal anyway; you just sit back and enjoy the smooth, once-in-a-lifetime ride.
The Tartini provoked the greatest audience response: lots of yelling, whistling, and foot stomping. It was
a great performance. Mrs. Rock claimed it was far superior to Mutter's Devil's Trill; less romantic, closer to a baroque ideal. The highlight for me was the Ysa˙e A minor sonata--even if she underplayed the Dies Irae quotes. Again, it was the beauty that seduced me. I wish she'd record the complete Op.27.
Her partner, Valentina Lisitsa, deserves a mention. She almost stole the show a few times (and looked the part: a gorgeous long mane of blonde hair and quite dramatic gestures while she played: no deferential, second-fiddle accompanist!).
We were in the balcony. We bought the least expensive seats because the online ticket agency claimed the Rosengarten was nearly sold-out, with all the good seats taken. That wasn't the case! We paid 54 Euro a ticket but we moved into a 100 Euro box when it became obvious it wasn't anywhere near sold out. In fact, except for the front row, the entire balcony was empty as were two thirds of the box seats! So your father is right about the relative lack of interest in recitals. Probably only Mutter could sell out the place (or Brendel: I tried to get tickets to his recital in Ludwigshafen later this month but couldn't).
Here's the cover of the program:
Speaking of Batiashvili: again your father is correct. We saw her a few weeks ago (Sibelius, conducted by Rasilainen) and her technique left an indelible impression. In fact, the performance as a whole changed the way I actually hear the concerto now. When she came out for her fourth bow, she had a little girl in tow (maybe three years old). I've never seen a classical artist bring their kid on stage before! Obviously family means much to her.