Cher Public

The right box

Let’s call this meeting to order. My name is Patrick and I’m a boxset-aholic.  Read more »

Woman on the verge of a repertoire breakthrough

First, an admission. I do not love Elina Garanca’s voice. I admire it a great deal—the fluidity of tone across her registers, the effortless technique. But I only like the basic timbre; I cannot say I love it. What makes Garanca special to me is less the quality of her voice than the way she deploys her instrument.

In recent years, the voice has grown, transitioning from lyric to spinto. Revive is a manifesto of sorts, declaring her intentions for the new direction in her career. The aria choices are eclectic. Garanca covers both familiar ground and roads less travelled, even a couple of rarities. She offers tantalizing roles like Eboli, Dalila, and Charlotte, but not “O don fatale,” “Mon coeur s’ouvre a ta voix” or Charlotte’s Letter Aria. Read more »

Harmony of contrasts

didonatoProgramming in solo CDs can range from the banal to the fascinating. On the one hand, one cannot fault the record companies for releasing single-composer arias discs that they know will move copies. After all, who doesn’t want to hear Anna or Jonas sing their way through Verdi and Puccini’s greatest hits?

On the other hand, singers like Joyce DiDonato repeatedly mine the repertoire for rarities which have not already been recorded dozens of time. And DiDonato always thinks thematically in putting a CD program together. Even her all-Rossini album focused on roles associated with Isabella Colbran, Rossini’s muse and wife. There was no Barbiere or Cenerentola to be found on that disc.  Read more »

Teeny furniture

Sony Classical has now released “Leontyne Price Prima Donna Assoluta” containing nearly her entire operatic oeuvre in a box set.

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Mighty real

Anna Netrebko‘s artistry is both subtle and thrilling.

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Out of the past

Myto’s transfer of Herbert von Karajan’s star-bedecked 1958 Die Walküre from La Scala gives collectors on a budget access to one of the legendary performances committed to tape.

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Sweet bird

Anna Moffo made some of the most entrancing records ever. Their appeal is to “voice fanciers.” (I understand. We’re a despised group.) But Moffo’s best work renders us helpless. 

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Significant mother

Fans of divas who sing 19th and 20th century opera may find themselves searching in vain for CDs to buy with this season’s gift cards, since their idols so rarely put out solo recitals these days.

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Gold diggers

Das Rheingold is the outlier among the Ring operas, an ensemble work with a fast-shifting plot, animated dialogue, fewer set pieces and less character development.

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La figlia dell’aria

For her third solo recording, Olga Peretyatko summons the two men who launched her career less than a decade ago

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