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Arias by Arakishvili, Bizet, Verdi, Saint-Saëns, Massenet, Rimsky-Korsakov, Mascagni & Gounod

Anita Rachvelishvili; Barbara Massaro; Piacenza Municipal Theatre Chorus; RAI National Symphony Orchestra/Giacomo Sagripanti (Sony)

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0
CD_19075808752_Bizet_CMYK

Various Arias by Arakishvili, Bizet, Verdi, Saint-Saëns, Massenet, Rimsky- Korsakov, Mascagni & Gounod
Anita Rachvelishvili (mezzo- soprano), Barbara Massaro (soprano); Piacenza Municipal Theatre Chorus; RAI National Symphony Orchestra/Giacomo Sagripanti
Sony 19075808752 52:38 mins

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This is a ‘done’ and a ‘to do’ list, involving roles which the Georgian mezzo-soprano Anita Rachvelishvili has already sung, and parts she’d like to add to her repertoire. So we’ve already admired her sinuous Carmen, though she is perhaps a little on the stately side in the Habanera here, and her Azucena from Verdi’s Il trovatore, which at full throttle would clear just about every soldier’s camp in Spain.

The problems come with roles she’s yet to sing on stage, like Massenet’s Charlotte from Werther and Santuzza in Cavalleria rusticana. Rachvelishvili appears to have difficulties with languages, singing with a diction that is distinctly Georgian. Indeed you need an interpreter to understand her Italian while her French is as murky as a Bouillabaisse. But the voice itself has plenty of potential with that touch of a mezzo at the bottom which makes Eastern European spinto sopranos so exciting. It’s all there in the last track, Eboli’s ‘O don fatale’ from Don Carlos. Never mind the braying brass from the RAI orchestra; Rachvelishvili tears into this great aria and has a proper dramatic instinct for where to change vocal and emotional gear. Her soft singing when she reflects on how she has wronged the queen would melt the hardest heart. Here are hints of a fine Verdi mezzo-soprano ready for her prime.

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Christopher Cook