The Kiss

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Bizet,Cilea,Dvoπák and Massenet,Gounod,Puccini,Rimsky-Korsakov,Smetana,Tchaikovsky,Verdi
LABELS: ABC Classics
ALBUM TITLE: The Kiss
WORKS: Arias by Gounod, Verdi, Puccini, Rimsky-Korsakov, Verdi, Tchaikovsky, Cilea, Bizet, Smetana, Dvoπák and Massenet
PERFORMER: Nicole Car (soprano); Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra/Andrea Molino
CATALOGUE NO: ABC Classics 481 2371

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Never mind the cover photograph – the artist fashionably deshabillé. And ignore the questionable title too. Nicole Car is the real thing, a properly lyric soprano who already has the vocal weight for the heavier 19th-century repertoire. If she is not yet ready for Leonora in ‘Tacea la notte placida’ (Verdi’s Il trovatore), she’s an affecting Amelia in ‘Come in quest’ora bruna’ from Simon Boccanegra, and an utterly compelling Adriana Lecouvreur in ‘Io son l’umile ancella’.

However, the stand out track on this new CD is the Letter Scene from Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. Car’s Tatyana is a magnificent vocal characterisation of a young girl utterly besotted with the man she has just met. She is by turns impulsive, mercurial and clearly tortured by her overwhelming feelings for Onegin. Andrea Molino conducting the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra is with her in every line she writes, with the horns caressing Tchaikovsky’s score and a solo oboe that does precisely what Stanislavski is supposed to have said it should do, write the letter!

All credit, too, for the wide choice of repertoire elsewhere on this disc. When did you last hear Rimsky-Korsakov’s ‘Tsveti moi!’ from Servilia, or Vendulka’s Lullaby from Smetana’s The Kiss?

Christopher Cook

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