Chap’, Massenet, Offenbach, Rossini, Villa-Lobos, Montsalvatge, R Strauss

COMPOSERS: Chap’,Massenet,Montsalvatge,Offenbach,R Strauss,Rossini,Villa-Lobos
LABELS: DG
ALBUM TITLE: Elina Garanca: Aria Cantilena
WORKS: Arias and songs by Chapí, Massenet, Offenbach, Rossini, Villa-Lobos, Montsalvatge & R Strauss
PERFORMER: Elina Garanca (mezzo-soprano); Dresden State Opera Choir; Staatskapelle Dresden/Fabio Luisi
CATALOGUE NO: 477 6231
This wide-ranging selection, with items sung in six languages, emphasises the versatility of the young Latvian mezzo, who has been attracting wide notice. What it also points to, however, is a technique with some gaps in it (she occasionally sings, as in the opening zarzuela number from Chapí’s Las hijas del Zebedeo, just beneath the note), and a rather generic approach to interpretation. Bland would be too harsh a word, but comes to mind here nevertheless.

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The Cenerentola rondo finale, for instance, includes some grace amidst the triumphalism. But compared with other accounts there’s a distinct lack of brilliance, with some of the coloratura registering as fuzzy. The knowing humour of Offenbach’s Grand Duchess openly acknowledging her liking for soldier boys is somewhat undercharacterised. There’s vocal warmth throughout the range in Nicklausse’s number from The Tales of Hoffmann, and Massenet’s Charlotte suits Garanca perfectly. Everything here sounds fine, unless you are seeking a thought-through, individual performance. For that you’ll have to look elsewhere.

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Some of the missing vocal detail is supplied by conductor Fabio Luisi and the excellent Dresden orchestra. But they and the soloist are both swamped in an inappropriate ecclesiastical acoustic, which robs every bar of sonic focus. George Hall