Beatrice Rana

By on November 14, 2013

By: T. Dylon Jones

The crowd lights go down, the stage lights go up and the crowd goes silent fast enough to make a ring. It’s like the last haunting chord of an orchestra concert, but with disparate voices instead of beautiful instruments. The mesmerized crowd stares as 20-year-old Beatrice Rana glides to the solitary grand piano.

The 2013 silver medalist of the prestigious Van Cliburn Piano Competition, Rana is a young star in the dusty world of classical music. After graduating from the conservatory of music in Monopoli, Italy, Rana won the Montreal International Music Competition for piano. She was 18.

The young Italian is a virtuosic pianist, but her technical skill does not overshadow her artistry. She wades into the waters of Schumann where most would dive, her touch light and unassuming. But she’s soon submerged, luring the crowd into the depths of the Romantic Period like a siren, but without the jagged rocks. Her playing is anything but jagged. “She was particularly eloquent with her [soft] playing,” said University of Louisville piano faculty member Krista Wallace-Boaz.

Rana’s playing proves that physical age doesn’t always correlate to mental age. Her playing is careful, her interpretation fresh and her phrasing smooth. She soars through 13 of Schumann’s etudes, lingering at every tense moment. Her right hand sweeps through blazing arpeggios as her left hand plays a melancholy melody. There is an intermission after the Schumann pieces, and the crowd is slow to settle. There is too much talking; the audience is excited.

Rana doesn’t wait for the crowd to stop applauding when she returns to the stage. She sits, and dives into the challenging harmony of Prokofiev’s “Sonata No. 6 in A Major, Opus 82.” Most pianists would try to wade.

Her interpretation of Prokofiev is illuminating; the cryptic, contemporary work makes sense as Rana plays. Her delicacy turns to ferocity. She bends over her hands in concentration, and she looks like she’s in a trance. The audience is in a trance.

It is broken only when Rana rips her hands away from the keys. The audience hesitates, bewildered, and then jumps to its feet. They cheer at Rana until she returns for an encore. Twice.

Photo Courtesy of Google Images

About Regina Deveary

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