WORKS: Songs by Martini, Parisotti, Schubert, Schumann, Satie, Liszt, Grieg, Delibes, Respighi
PERFORMER: Angela Gheorghiu (soprano) Malcolm Martineau (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: 458 360-2
Angela Gheorghiu has ‘a mission to be a sort of ambassador for music, to touch hearts and bring happiness to audiences everywhere’. No album of operatic lollipops this then. No, My World is a two-disc United Nations of song. Korea, Japan, Brazil, Greece and Romania are all represented, together with a touching, ancient Sephardic lullaby, and, most bizarrely, ‘Be My Love’. The latter is the song Mario Lanza made famous in The Toast of New Orleans and here you can’t help feeling Gheorghiu is sending it up, so lugubriously articulated is her accented English.
One half of the recital is an interesting, if straightforward collection of European art songs ranging from Parisotti’s aria antica ‘Se tu m’ami’ to Montsalvatge’s ‘Canto negro’, via Delibes, Grieg and Respighi, with some Schubert, Schumann and Strauss Lieder thrown in too. Though her German may not be as effortless as her Romance languages, this is the most revelatory section, for she has increasingly the attributes of a great Strauss soprano.
There’s not much to fault in Gheorghiu’s singing. Her voice has radiance and depth and striking tonal beauty, but there is something blandly homogeneous about her style. She may boast of singing in 13 languages but she seems to segue between them with just a little too much facility, so there’s not much to distinguish them idiomatically. Claire Wrathall