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Interview with the Boy Alto & Bass Panajotis (Panito) Iconomou

 By Aryeh Oron (September-November 2002)

Feedback to the Interview - Part 1

Aryeh Oron wrote (October 21, 2002):
At last you have the promised interview with the Boy Alto and Bass Panajotis (Panito) Iconomou.
You can read the first part of it at the following page of the Bach Cantatas Website:

The second part, which includes many questions of the members, will come soon (so I hope).
If you have more questions, please send them to me through, either the Mailing List or my personal e-mail address.

A. Tiara
wrote (October 23, 2002):
[To Aryeh Oron] Most interesting, thank you!

Philippe Bareille wrote (October 27, 2002):
[To Aryeh Oron] Thanks Aryeh for this interview. I found amusing to read that Esswood felt a bit unhappy with Nikolaus Harnoncourt' preference for P Iconomou in the passions (and I infer in the cantatas too).

I look forward to the second part of this interview.


Feedback to the Interview - Part 2

Aryeh Oron wrote (November 15, 2002):
The long awaited second part of the interview with the Boy Alto and Bass Panajotis (Panito) Iconomou is available at last for you to read and enjoy.
You can find it at the following page of the Bach Cantatas Website:
The first part, for those of you who have missed my previous announcement, is at:

The second part includes many questions of the members of the BCML, BRML and Bach_Cantatas Mailing List. I found Panito's answers to the various questions fascinating, as they illuminate the background and reveal many unknown details in the process of recording the Harnoncourt & Leonhardt Cantata Cycle. And it comes from a man who was there, at the heart of the matters, being himself one of the gems of this cycle.

If you have more questions to Panito, please send them to me through, either the
Mailing List or my personal e-mail address.

Douglas Neslund wrote (November 15, 2002):
[To Aryeh Oron] Fantastic! Thank you, Aryeh! A must read for all members of this list!

Boyd Pehrson wrote (November 16, 2002):
[To Aryeh Oron] Thank you Aryeh. That is a great interview, nice flow and well written all around. I am delighted with Panajotis' response, and he states well the reality of music and its meaning for his boyhood. As my lawyer friend says often: "Your Honor, I rest my case".

I look forward to part three :-)

Thomas Braatz wrote (November 16, 2002):
[To Aryeh Oron] I have been finding your interview with Panito very enlightening, and I appreciate all the effort that you have put into such things as this extended interview.

Lalis Ivan wrote (November 18, 2002):
[To Aryeh Oron] thanks a lot for the interview, I enjoyed reading it, especially Panito's opinions on vibrato and embellishments. I wonder what other list members think about this issues. As for me, my opinion is close to the one of Panito. I do like white vibrato less voices in Bach, but I also like those that have a natural vibrato. I heard several performances of Bach works where singers tried to (either forced by a conductor or wanting to be stylistic) suppress their natural vibrato. The results were almost always very painful to listen to - strained, unnatural. If I have to choose in such a case, I'd rather hear their natural voices, even if it might be considered inappropriate by some. That's why I have no problems to enjoy singers like Kirkby, Argenta and Kozena. For me it's about the beauty of the voice and delivery of the message.

As for embellishments, I do not have enough information to say if Bach's music has to be ornamented or not. Fact is the ornaments in baroque opera arias are obligatory and not necessarily only in da capo part. I think I've read somewhere that Bach preferred to write the ornaments himself to prevent any excesses from players and/or singers, but I can't remember the source.

As for the new questions, I'd like to know Panito's opinion on OVPP. He sang both in OVPP and non-OVPP performances, so it'd be interesting to know if he has any preferences in this respect or not. I was also told that it can be quite exhausting for the soloists to do OVPP, so I'd like to know if this is really so demanding. This would be quite a practical argument against OVPP practice :-)


Panito Iconomou: Short Biography | Interview: Part 1 | Part 2 | Feedback


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