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Thread: Vocal recitals.

  1. #211
    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Conte View Post
    Attachment 145151

    One of my latest purchases was this album by Albanian soprano Ermonela Jaho. I find most recent recital albums have been disappointing for one reason or another and both the classical music recording industry and CD market are in decline.

    Despite Jaho being one of my two favourite sopranos singing today, most of the items on this disc have been sung better by others (although there are enough rarities for their to be something new for most opera fans as well), the other initial drawback is that it is a homage album to the singer Rosina Storchio. Homage albums tend to be good ideas that end badly (the worst being Gheorgiu's one to Callas which succeeded merely in proving that, despite her dreams to the contrary, Gheorgiu is NOT Callas!) Bartoli fared better, but then she intelligently compared herself with Malibran, who died well before recording technology was invented. Her disc 'Maria' was interesting from an academic point of view, presenting some interesting rarities, but the inevitable inclusion of well known works left me wanting when we have such wonderful examples from Callas, Caballe and Sutherland to compare with.

    When it comes to this disc, however, the Storchio connection isn't that much a defining feature of the recital as it is just the sort of rep that Jaho has been singing and mostly praised in. (It starts and ends with the two Butterfly arias, a role that is practically a calling card of hers and in which I haven't heard an equal in the last twenty years.) She also sings the act three Traviata aria and then we get a succession of rarities with the odd better known piece thrown in. All is wonderfully done, although she tends to be more passionate in live performance. I have only given it one listen so far and would have to go back and try it again, but it's all done with great sensitivity to both music and text. She doesn't erase memories of some of the great interpretations of the past where she sings rep that was recorded by Callas, De los Angeles, Freni or even Gheorgiu, but there is enough here and of a good enough quality to make this well worth the purchase price.

    N.
    I haven't heard the whole recital, but I did do a recent comparison of different singers in Boito's L'altra notte.

    The singers were Tebald, Callas, Kyra Vane, Caballé, De Los Angele and Michelle Crieder. Leaving interpretation aside for the moment, the first thing that struck me was Jaho's heavy vibrato, which seems to be part of the voice itself, not something added for expression. All of the others apart from Crieder, were much cleaner with a firmer core to their voices. The only one with a vibrato approaching that of Jaho's was the much more recently recorded Crieder. I found Jaho's vibrato intrusive and the aria didn't invite me to listen to any more.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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  3. #212
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tsaraslondon View Post
    I haven't heard the whole recital, but I did do a recent comparison of different singers in Boito's L'altra notte.

    The singers were Tebald, Callas, Kyra Vane, Caballé, De Los Angele and Michelle Crieder. Leaving interpretation aside for the moment, the first thing that struck me was Jaho's heavy vibrato, which seems to be part of the voice itself, not something added for expression. All of the others apart from Crieder, were much cleaner with a firmer core to their voices. The only one with a vibrato approaching that of Jaho's was the much more recently recorded Crieder. I found Jaho's vibrato intrusive and the aria didn't invite me to listen to any more.
    That's interesting. She certainly isn't up to the standard of past divas either vocally or interpretatively, however I find her warm vibrato pleasant enough and whilst she suffers from a certain amount of potato in the mouth, she is one of the better singers performing today.

    N.

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  5. #213
    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Conte View Post
    That's interesting. She certainly isn't up to the standard of past divas either vocally or interpretatively, however I find her warm vibrato pleasant enough and whilst she suffers from a certain amount of potato in the mouth, she is one of the better singers performing today.

    N.
    I have seen her on stage just the once - as Desdemona in Covent Garden's recent Otello - and I really liked her, nor did I notice any excessive vibrato. Of course it's quite possible that it is accentuated on records.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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    Senior Member adriesba's Avatar
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    This is a nice album. The Christmas songs are a real delight. \/




    And on the topic of Christmas songs, this album is enjoyable even if I wish it had more to fill the disc. \/


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    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    Now here is an interesting and enterprising collection of music centred around Richard Dehmel's poem Verklärte Nacht, which most famously inspired Schoenberg's great work, which is included in its orchestral incarnation here.

    I'm guessing not many would be able to identify the composer of the first work here, a powerful tone poem for tenor and orchestra depicting the hallucinations of a young soldier in a field hospital during World War I. The Mahlerian influences are obvious but I doubt many would hazard the name of Franz Lehár. This is a piece I am very much going to enjoy getting to know.

    It is followed by a setting of Verklärte Nacht for tenor, mezzo-soprano and orchestra by Oskar Fried, a Mahler champion, and written at about the same time as Schoenberg's more well known work. It makes an interesting and apposite opening to the Schoenberg, which follows. An excellent performance here from the BBC SO under Edward Gardiner.

    The disc closes with another rarity, Korngold's Songs of Farewell, composed not long after his opera, Die tote Stadt and in a similar lush and lyrical vein. Highly recommended.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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  11. #216
    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    Now this is rather special. The young French/Danish soprano Elsa Dreisig follows up her excellent debut album of operatic excerpts with this beautifully compiled recital of songs for voice and piano, showing that she is equally at home in the more intimate surroundings of the recital room. The programme is an interesting one with the piano accompanied versions of Strauss’s Vier letzte Lieder (plus his final ever song Malven) split up and inserted into different points of the recital. The songs weren’t orginally planned as a cycle in any case, and this makes for some fascinating juxtapositions. The rest of the programme is made up of songs by Rachmaninov and Duparc and leads us on a most satisfying journey, “an inner journey across the seasons of the soul,” as Dreisig writes in the accompanying notes.

    The North Star, our guide, is Strauss with thes Four Last Songs (or five if we count Malven, his final song), in conversation with Duparc and Rachmaninov. Starting at the dawn of Spring and of youth, we visit Summer and its passions then, by way of Autumn nights and the dreamlike world of spleep, we come to face to face with the unknown and with passing time. A journey of initiation, one that allows us to contemplate loss and death, thinking all the while of tomorrow: morgen.
    Save for Rachmaninov’s The Pied Piper the mood is generally dreamy and Dreisig and her accompanist, the superb Jonathan Ware, create spell bindng magic, drawing us in to their carefully crafted programme. Dreisig’s voice is a lovely, lyric soprano with a pearly, opalescent radiance that suits all these songs perfectly, but she is much more than a lovely voice. What is unusual is her rare gift for communication, her innate musicality and the specificity of her response to all these songs.

    The highlights for me are her languidly dreamy and erotic rendition of Duparc’s Phidylé and Extase, Rachmaninov’s At Night In My Garden, and all the Strauss items gorgeously sung, yet with due attention to the text. I do hope Dresig will soon get to record the orchestral version of his Vier letzte Lieder. Ware plays magnificently, probably the best version of the piano accompaniment I have ever heard, but I do miss Strauss’s glorious orchestration. A total contrast is afforded when she follows it with her superbly suggestive singing of Rachmaninov’s The Pied Piper, which shows off admirably her brilliant gift for characterisation, but really there isn’t a dud in the whole recitial

    This is a wonderful disc and one of the best soprano song recitals I have heard in a very long time. Start the disc from the beginning and allow these artists to take you along on their journey. One listen quickly became two. Dreisig turns thirty this year. Let us hope that the pandemic has not stimmied a career that was just starting to get going. Warmly recommended.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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  13. #217
    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    This disc is mostly taken from a recital given by Ricciarelli in Switzerland in 1979, with the final two items from a concert given the following year. The programme is a good one, starting with bel canto items and finishing with verismo, with early and middle period Verdi bridging the gap.

    The voice is mostly in good shape, though it develops a slight beat on high when under pressure, more noticeable in the verismo items than it is in the gentler bel canto she chooses, and it is the items by Bellini, Donizetti and Verdi that make the greatest impression.

    We start with Giulietta’s Oh quante volte from I Capuleti e i Montecchi, a role that suited her like a glove and for which she receieved rave reviews when she sang it at Covent Garden in a revival of the production first mounted for Gruberova and Baltsa. I also heard her sing the aria at a recital at the Barbican Hall in 1987 in a programme very similar to the one we have here. This aria was undoubtedly the highlight of the night and she was forced to encore it at the end of the evening. She spins out the phrases quite deiciously and with superb musicality and, as she never has to force her voice, the result is mesmerisingly beautiful.

    The Donizetti items are also beautifully moulded, the lines caressed, though one notes that she does not sing the more forceful cabaletta to the Anna Bolena aria, and I imagine it would have taxed her limits, though she did sing the role quite a lot, apparently with much success. The Lucrezia Borgia is also an elegiac piece and again she fills its phrases with signifcance, her phrasing unfailingly musical.

    Of the two Verdi items the first from Il Corsaro suits her better and I rather wish that she had been cast in Gardelli’s Philps recording of 1976. Norman, who sings Medora, isn’t bad by any means, but Ricciarelli is more inside the music, more stylish. The following year she joined the Philips early Verdi stable, singing Lucrezia in I Due Foscari and Lida in La Battaglia de Legnano and she is superb in both.

    The Forza aria suggests that the role may have been a bit too big for her and the voice does rather glare on the climactic Bb on Maledizion. The floated one on Invan la pace is better, but still sounds a mite insecure.

    The verismo arias also have their attractions and are very well received by the audiences, possibly because they were better known, but again climactic high notes are apt to glare uncomfortably, particularly in the exposed climax to Wally’s lovely Ebben. Ne andro lontana. None the less the aria is beautifully felt and delivered with a sighing loneliness that is most effective. She also differentiates nicely between Tosca’s utter desperation and Butterfly’s single minded conviction that Pinkerton will return.

    All in all, then a rewarding programme. Ricciarelli is a singer I have come to admire more with the passing years. More vocally fallible than such contemporaries as Freni or Caballé, less individual in her response to the text than Scotto, her singing is unfailingly musical and I derived a lot of pleasure from this recital.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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    Senior Member Barbebleu's Avatar
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    I recently treated myself to a nice box - Les Introuvables du Chant Verdien. I’ve listened to CD 1, Ernani and Trovatore. Some great singing but the standout track for all sorts of reasons, some of them very wrong!, is Timor Di Me sung by Emmy Destinn. I urge those of you who are interested to try and hear this. Absolutely mental for the last couple of minutes. A masterclass in throwing the kitchen sink at an aria and then following it up with the rest of the kitchen!

    It cheered me up no end. I see that it is on YouTube. Enjoy.
    Last edited by Barbebleu; Jun-16-2021 at 12:11.
    "...it is said that first your heart sings, then you play. I think if it is not like that, then it is only just combination of notes, isn't it? " - Pandit Nikhil Banerjee, Master of the Sitar.

    ‘When in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout!‘

    ‘Common sense is not a gift, it's a curse. Because you have to deal with people who don't possess it!’

    I must go down to the sea again, the lonely sea and the sky.
    I left my vest and socks there, I wonder if they’re dry?

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  17. #219
    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbebleu View Post
    I recently treated myself to a nice box - Les Introuvables du Chant Verdien. I’ve listened to CD 1, Ernani and Trovatore. Some great singing but the standout track for all sorts of reasons, some of them very wrong!, is Timor Di Me sung by Emmy Destinn. I urge those of you who are interested to try and hear this. Absolutely mental for the last couple of minutes. A masterclass in throwing the kitchen sink at an aria and then following it up with the rest of the kitchen!

    It cheered me up no end. I see that it is on YouTube. Enjoy.
    It's hardly subtle, is it? This is what John Steane says sbout the recording in The Grand Tradition

    The 'D'amor sull'ali rosee' from Il Trovatore has the distinction of excellent trills, a fine cadenza, some high notes taken with marvellous softness and accuracy, a stunning high D flat, and some interesting phrasing. Even so, it remains a very extravert performance, rarely relaxing, rarely attempting or achieving subtety. Modern singers could learn much from it in matters of tone and technique, but no doubt Destinn might have learnt from them in the matter of interpretation.
    I can but agree and note that she hardly begins to weave into the piece the atmosphere of night and mystery I require. My yardstick is, predictably, Callas ("That woman is a miracle," according to Schwarzkopf when she heard her sing it at La Scala in 1953), but I also enjoy versions from Ponselle, Leontyne Price, Rosalind Plowright (in the Giulini recording) and, surprsingly perhaps, Frida Leider, who sings in German, but with a fine sense of style and superb trills.

    The Introuvables series are all very collectible and I've been looking for a reasonably priced Verdi one for some time.
    Last edited by Tsaraslondon; Jun-16-2021 at 14:13.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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  19. #220
    Senior Member Barbebleu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tsaraslondon View Post
    It's hardly subtle, is it? This is what John Steane says sbout the recording in The Grand Tradition



    I can but agree and note that she hardly begins to weave into the piece the atmosphere of night and mystery I require. My yardstick is, predictably, Callas ("That woman is a miracle," according to Schwarzkopf when she heard her sing it at La Scala in 1953), but I also enjoy versions from Ponselle, Leontyne Price, Rosalind Plowright (in the Giulini recording) and, surprsingly perhaps, Frida Leider, who sings in German, but with a fine sense of style and superb trills.

    The Introuvables series are all very collectible and I've been looking for a reasonably priced Verdi one for some time.
    It was the other aria, Timor Di Me, I was referring to, not D’amor sull’ali Rosee. She’s not too bad in this compared to Timor. It’s on you tube too.

    The Introuvables one I would like is the Mozart one but it is hard to find at an affordable price.
    "...it is said that first your heart sings, then you play. I think if it is not like that, then it is only just combination of notes, isn't it? " - Pandit Nikhil Banerjee, Master of the Sitar.

    ‘When in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout!‘

    ‘Common sense is not a gift, it's a curse. Because you have to deal with people who don't possess it!’

    I must go down to the sea again, the lonely sea and the sky.
    I left my vest and socks there, I wonder if they’re dry?

  20. #221
    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbebleu View Post
    It was the other aria, Timor Di Me, I was referring to, not D’amor sull’ali Rosee. She’s not too bad in this compared to Timor. It’s on you tube too.

    The Introuvables one I would like is the Mozart one but it is hard to find at an affordable price.
    Timor di me is the recitative to D'amor sul'ali rosee? Did you mean Tacea la notte? I can't find a Destinn recording of that.

    PS I've ordered the Verdi box from Amazon US. Quite expensive but I had some unused gift vouchers.
    Last edited by Tsaraslondon; Jun-16-2021 at 19:03.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

  21. #222
    Senior Member Barbebleu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tsaraslondon View Post
    Timor di me is the recitative to D'amor sul'ali rosee? Did you mean Tacea la notte? I can't find a Destinn recording of that.

    PS I've ordered the Verdi box from Amazon US. Quite expensive but I had some unused gift vouchers.
    It was indeed the recitative. In the box it is shown as two separate tracks. I’m not well versed in Verdi hence my confusion. She goes to town on the recitative though!
    "...it is said that first your heart sings, then you play. I think if it is not like that, then it is only just combination of notes, isn't it? " - Pandit Nikhil Banerjee, Master of the Sitar.

    ‘When in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout!‘

    ‘Common sense is not a gift, it's a curse. Because you have to deal with people who don't possess it!’

    I must go down to the sea again, the lonely sea and the sky.
    I left my vest and socks there, I wonder if they’re dry?

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