COMPOSERS: Donizetti,Gounod,Puccini,R Strauss,Rossini,Stravinsky,Thomas & Bernstein,Verdi
WORKS: Arias by Cilea, Tchaikovsky, Leoncavallo, Boito, Jake Heggie, Strauss, Malcolm Williamson & Catalani
PERFORMER: Diana Damrau (soprano); Munich Radio Orchestra/Dan Ettinger
CATALOGUE NO: 519 3132
Diana Damrau is ice and fire. With a formidable technique allied to effortless artistry, there is it seems nothing that she cannot do, certainly in the vocal fireworks department. Yet was there ever so coolly calculating Rosina in ‘Una voce poco fa’? And there’s character, too, in this new collection of arias.
Damrau’s Zerbinetta in ‘Grossmächtige Prinzessin’ is much more than a heartless tart. She sings to Ariadne as woman-to-woman; she knows what fickle fellows men are and it’s best to be several affairs ahead of them. She’s also a deeply affecting Ophelia in Ambroise Thomas’s Hamlet: ‘A vos jeux, mes amis’ might have been tailored Damrau’s vocal gifts. But it’s her Gilda where everything melds into perfection.
The lightly coloured tone in the introductory phrases to ‘Caro nome’ proclaim her innocence; the vocal slide into the flute solo that introduces the aria sings of her love for the Duke; and by the time you arrive at the tender trill on the aria’s penultimate phrase and the final effortlessly sustained note you’re just about in love yourself. Christopher Cook