Bellini, Donizetti, Rossini

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COMPOSERS: Bellini,Donizetti,Rossini
WORKS: Il pirata (excerpts), Semiramide (excerpts) , Lucrezia Borgia (excerpts)
PERFORMER: Renée Fleming (soprano), Kristine Jepson (mezzo-soprano); Florence Maggio Musicale Chorus, Orchestra of St Luke’s/Patrick Summers
CATALOGUE NO: 467 101-2
All singers have their own particular vocal mannerisms. And whether or not you like a singer is often influenced by whether or not you respond to these quirks. With Renée Fleming it tends to be the frequent breathy excitement in the voice or the slightly pouty inflection in some of her phrasing which divides people – in Schubert Lieder for example. However, in this recital of extended chunks from operas by Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti, everything in her vocal armoury comes together to produce an outstanding disc. Bel canto has been an important strand of her career ever since she triumphed in Rossini’s Armida in the 1993 Pesaro Festival. Her inclusion of an aria from it on this disc shows her athletic ability in negotiating the most florid runs and figurations. She conveys an intense melancholy in the final scene from Bellini’s La sonnambula; and in the mad scene from his Il pirata she sounds suitably psychotic in her use of dark chest tones on ‘il palco funesto’. The Orchestra of St Luke’s under Patrick Summers accompanies with an energy and refinement that almost match Fleming in sheer gorgeousness of sound. Clive Portbury