WORKS: Encores as sung by Kirsten Flagstad, Eileen Farrell, Helen Traubel and Eleanor Steber
PERFORMER: Christine Brewer (soprano), Roger Vignoles (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CDA 67813
Encores are the theme of Christine Brewer’s recital, and specifically those associated with four of her great predecessors: Kirsten Flagstad, Helen Traubel, Eileen Farrell and Eleanor Steber. Like Brewer, all but Steber had ample, glamorous voices associated with the Wagnerian repertoire, and Brewer surely matches their vocal excellence.
But unlike many dramatic sopranos, Brewer here demonstrates a clarity of enunciation and a variety of tone that suits this lighter material. Landon Ronald’s ‘O lovely night’ sounds gorgeous, especially with Roger Vignoles’s sumptuous accompaniment, and songs by John Alden Carpenter and Paul Sargent are beautifully composed. Others – such as extracts from musicals by Romberg and Bernstein, or ‘In my Garden’, by the quaintly named Idabelle Firestone, are frankly yet enjoyably sentimental. Irresistible. George Hall