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Singer Recitals: Garanča and Royal

available at Amazon
Elīna Garanča, Bel Canto, Filarmonica del Teatro Comunale di Bologna, R. Abbado

(released on April 28, 2009)
Deutsche Grammophon B0012818-02
Elīna Garanča made a fairly sensational debut at the Metropolitan Opera last year as Rosina in Barber of Seville. Her name first came up at Ionarts because she sang a small role in Europa Galante's memorable recording of Vivaldi's Bajazet a couple years before that. According to my review her voice had "a husky sound, not overburdened with active vibrato" and was "evocative" and "a little Marilyn [Horne] on the low notes." The Latvian mezzo-soprano's second recital disc for Deutsche Grammophon, a selection of bel canto opera excerpts, confirms that favorable assessment. Many of the pieces are for small ensembles, which highlights Garanča's voice in combination with soprano Ekaterina Siurina, tenor Matthew Polenzani, and bass-baritones Ildebrando d'Arcangelo and Adrian Sâmpetrean. Garanča has received praise for her Mozart and other early opera, too, so her voice is versatile, and she certainly has the power, beauty of tone, and agility for bel canto. This type of disc is not really of interest for the serious collector, of course -- buy the (heavily discounted) complete recording of I Capuleti e i Montecchi with Anna Netrebko (review forthcoming) instead of the few excerpts found here -- but it does give a worthwhile impression of the possibilities of this voice, at least until you have the chance to hear her live in an opera near you.

See the profile on Garanča by Matthew Gurewitsch in the New York Times.


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Kate Royal, Midsummer Night, Orchestra of English National Opera, E. Gardner

(released on June 2, 2009)
EMI 50999 2 68192 2 8
Kate Royal has followed up brilliantly on the success of her debut recital album for EMI, with this selection of mostly 20th-century opera excerpts, called Midsummer Night. The program is likely to be of greater interest to the serious collector, alluring rarities -- like Walton's Troilus and Cressida, William Alwyn's Miss Julie, Bernard Herrmann's Wuthering Heights, as well as pieces by Britten, Barber, Messager, Korngold -- rather than tired favorites. Her voice continues to impress my ears -- as it did live during her first U.S. appearance (reviewed by Jens), here in Washington in 2006: well-aimed if not all that overpowering (no need for that yet, so no pushing), with transparency throughout its range and the true intonation that makes it devastatingly effective in the modern repertoire (think Dawn Upshaw). According to Royal's introductory remarks in the liner notes, the program was inspired by the experience of her first role in a 20th-century opera, as the Governess in Glyndebourne's touring production of The Turn of the Screw. She was surely a good match for the role, and the excerpt recorded here (How beautiful it is, when the Governess sees Quint's ghost appear mysteriously on a tower), as well as the Embroidery Aria from Peter Grimes, indicates that she will likely be a first-rate Britten interpreter. Her statuesque beauty would make her a natural Titania, for example. The same conductor from her first recital disc, Edward Gardner, again proves an excellent accompanist, this time with the ENO Orchestra.


1 comment:

zurga said...

I had the opportunity of listening to Elina Garanca in person during the last matinee performance of the MET season.
She was a lovely Cenerentola.Quite captivating.
An exciting voice with plenty of volume and she had no problem navigating the demanding colotatura.
On top or it she is a very fine actress,and a very pretty lady.