Cher Public

Das Süsses Mädel and the Boy from Berlin

Diana Damrau is a finished artist, the voice full-bodied rather than tinkling, pastel not metal, her agility well-schooled and the instrument of sufficient size to fill the Met. The range is extensive if sometimes a bit thin above the staff, and the core is strong. She does not sing around the note or touch on the note, as the watery coloraturas do; she sings the note. There is an ease and a weight to her passage work, runs are a pleasure but trills sometimes unclear or fudged. She always gives pleasure though one sometimes find her bland, lacking distinctive personality.  Read more »

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

Joyce DiDonato’s atest album, In War & Peace: Harmony through music, is more specific than it sounds.

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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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