Arias by Charpentier, Gounod, Bizet, Puccini & Verdi
Ekaterina Siurina (soprano), Charles Kastronovo (tenor); Kaunas Symphony/Constantine Orbelian
Delos DE3583 76:11 mins
The much-in-demand Russian soprano Ekaterina Siurina follows her 2013 recital disc of bel canto and Verdi chamber songs (Amore e morte, Opus Arte) with this recording of French and Italian operatic arias. If that earlier recording was of relative rarities, this time it is all about the lollipops. A cynic might ask whether we need yet another disc of popular soprano arias (and a few duets) from operas such as Faust, Carmen, La rondine, Turandot and the like. The answer is yes, providing it’s done as well as this.
Siurina sings with a flawless legato and great purity of tone. Nothing here is heavy or forced: every number is delivered with effortless panache. Not only is the voice itself a thing of crystalline beauty, but Siurina inhabits each role with character, becoming an animated Juliette, a heart-string-pulling Liù, a sparkling Magda and a desolate Desdemona. But it is in the three numbers from La bohème that Siurina shines brightest and the touchingly tender ‘O soave fanciulla’ with her husband, the American tenor Charles Castronovo, is up there with the best. The accompaniment from the Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra is sympathetic throughout; just once in a while one wishes that conductor Constantine Orbelian would pick up the pace.
It’s easy to dismiss the over-familiar. But this disc would make a perfect gift for someone just about to embark on the journey of discovering opera. Moreover, Siurina has something fresh to say, even to the most jaded of opera buffs.