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Bellini: I Puritani

Jovita Vaškevičiūtė, Sarah Coburn, Lawrence Brownlee, Azamat Zheltyrguzov; Kaunas State Choir; Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra/Constantine Orbelian (Delos)

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
DE 3537_Bellini
DE 3537_Bellini

Bellini
I Puritani
Jovita Vaškevičiūtė, Sarah Coburn, Lawrence Brownlee, Azamat Zheltyrguzov; Kaunas State Choir; Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra/Constantine Orbelian
Delos DE3537   162:07 mins (3 discs)

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In Bellini’s final stage work, Count Carlo Pepoli’s text may be awkward theatrical carpentry, but the drama is there: the arrival of an ardent lover, Arturo, politically at odds with Elvira’s Roundhead family into which he is marrying; a mad scene, a manhunt and a happy ending. The young American tenor Lawrence Brownlee is an impressive Arturo, light of tone and with an easy ascent into the upper register. The pace of ‘A te o cara’, his aria when he meets his bride Elvira, may be a little stately, but it sets the style exactly for the ensemble that follows. However, it’s Brownlee’s fellow American, soprano Sarah Coburn as Elvira, who steals this recording. Her tone is exquisite in ‘O rendetemi la speme’, the legato perfectly judged with arching top notes that steal your breath. Then, in the dizzying final section, she seems to go mad in front of our very ears with a bravura display of coloratura.

The rest of the cast are, in the best sense, support for the principals, though the baritone Azamat Zheltyrguzov makes Riccardo a formidable enemy for Arturo, and Jovita Vaškevičiūte is a flighty Henrietta Maria. Constantine Orbelian conducts his Lithuanian forces idiomatically, the Kaunas State Choir sounding as if they have been singing Italian Romantic opera from the cradle.

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Christopher Cook