The Irresistible Karita Mattila

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Bernstein etc,Dvorak,Mårtenson,Puccini,Sibelius,Verdi,Wagner
LABELS: Ondine
PERFORMER: Karita Mattila (soprano); Various orchestras and conductors
CATALOGUE NO: ODE 1171-2

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This Karita Mattila compilation starts with a slow fade-in of applause over the thrumming orchestral pulse of Tannhäuser’s ‘Dich, teure Halle’. And then that unmistakeable and gleaming soprano, moving on to a lunar Rusalka, a cymbal-clashing Aida, and a diva-dream of a Tosca, in four live operatic extracts.

Common to them all is a warm, enfolding orchestral presence, and that fusion of fearless strength with the ability to come intimately close to the listener which makes Mattila a totally natural crossover artist.

You barely notice when she does make the crossing: the orchestral version of one of Sibelius’s steamier songs, ‘Flickan kom’, moves forward into ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’, and songs from Evita, West Side Story and My Fair Lady, Mattila’s voice totally inhabiting each idiom. 

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Only two new tracks here: sultry live performances of Erroll Garner’s ‘Misty’ and Thelonious Monk’s ‘Round Midnight’ with the excellent Finnish band, Fever. Hilary Finch