Cher Public

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

prima-donna-assolutaWe live in magical times. The box set, which was once a hotly over-priced commodity, has now become the preferred vehicle for reissuing the classic operatic recordings of yore, polished to a high digital shine and at midrange prices to boot!  Read more »

Mighty real

Anna“It’s no secret that soprano Anna Netrebko is one of opera’s true box office draws: Her performances of Il Trovatore last season were among the few nights the Met was completely sold out. But her new CD, Verismo, reveals she is more than just a star; her performances of arias and scenes from Italian opera highlight an artistry that is both subtle and thrilling.” [Observer]

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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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Awakenings

There is a simple elegance to the single-composer recital album format. For the listener in the mood for, say, Puccini, it’s a chance to delve into his music without any pesky interruptions by those other guys like Verdi or Massenet. And if one is also in the mood for a particular singer’s art, then the choice is even more straightforward. For the singer, it is an opportunity to showcase and explore the variety and nuance that a single composer offers to his/her voice type, while also displaying his/her own skill at presenting a varied recital experience within narrow confines.  

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A desert breeze whispering a lullaby

The studio opera recording is a rare beast these days and its arrival always a cause for celebration.

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