COMPOSERS: Bellini; Rossini,Donizetti
WORKS: Bel Canto: Arias by Donizetti, Bellini & Rossini
PERFORMER: Elina Garanča (mezzo-soprano), Coro del Teatro Comunale di Bologna; Filarmonica del Teatro Comunale di Bologna/Roberto Abbado
CATALOGUE NO: 477 7460
How Rossini would have fallen for the Latvian Elina Garanča! Her voice, with its creamy mezzo middle and purposeful drop into the chest register suggests a perfect Rosina; part passionate young woman but mostly knowing minx.
On this new recording it’s lesser known bel canto treasures than Barbiere with GaranΩa in breeches for Tancredi. And no recent artist, including the magnificent Marilyn Horne, has recorded a more affecting rendition of Tancredi’s recitative and cavatina, ‘O patria… Di tanti palpiti’: every word articulated, every musical phrase properly shaped and a seemingly effortless legato.
Garanča’s Bellini and Donizetti are equally admirable. As Elisabetta she vividly portrays the queen’s indecisiveness as she is urged on to sign Maria Stuarda’s death warrant, then becoming agonised in the cabaletta ‘Ah! dal ciel discenda un raggio’ stretching the voice right up to its top (Ildebrando d’Arcangelo is a handsome Talbot here). And Garanča’s two helpings of L’assedio di Calais – in particular Aurelio’s Act I aria ‘Al mio core’ – make you yearn to see her sing the role on stage.
As Romeo in Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi Garanča is exactly the honeyed lyric mezzo the role requires. This is a deeply satisfying CD from a great artist in the making. Christopher Cook