Puccini, Gounod, Menotti, Delibes, Gershwin, Tippett, Berlioz, Charpentier, Bellini, Donizetti

COMPOSERS: Bellini,Berlioz,Charpentier,Delibes,Donizetti,Gershwin,Gounod,Menotti,Puccini,Tippett
LABELS: Decca
ALBUM TITLE: Nicole Cabell
WORKS: Arias by Puccini, Gounod, Menotti, Delibes, Gershwin, Tippett, Berlioz, Charpentier, Bellini & Donizetti
PERFORMER: Nicole Cabell (soprano); London PO/Andrew Davis
CATALOGUE NO: 475 7661
This debut recital by Nicole Cabell, the Californian soprano who won the 2005 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition, demonstrates considerable flair and potential but suggests that more hard work will have to be put in before she achieves the status of a finished artist. Cabell’s is essentially a lyric soprano notable for the warmth and generosity of its tone, and there’s some personality to the voice, too. She’s at her best in the long lines of Puccini (the Gianni Schicchi and Rondine arias), where her Italian diction is clear and she enters imaginatively into the spirit of the music. Also impressive here is her highly sensuous approach to Charpentier’s ‘Depuis le jour’ and her evocation of the languid melancholy of Giulietta’s ‘Oh! quante volte’ from Bellini’s Capuleti.

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Oddly, it’s in the English text of the extract from the late Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief that her words are indecipherable, while the technical demands of the showpieces from Berlioz’s Benvenuto Cellini and Gounod’s Roméo et Juliette reveal some gaps – her trills are shaky, and her intonation suspect. But there’s enough here for the basis of a solid career, and with further definition and, crucially, greater variety of tone, perhaps a good deal more. George Hall