Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Bellini and Moniuszko,Donizetti,Johann Strauss II,Mozart,Puccini,Rossini,Verdi
WORKS: Arias by Rossini, Mozart, Donizetti, Johann Strauss II, Puccini, Verdi, Bellini and Moniuszko
PERFORMER: Aleksandra Kurzak (soprano)
CATALOGUE NO: Decca 478 2730


The rise to international prominence of the Polish soprano Aleksandra Kurzak has been considerably bolstered by her regular appearances at Covent Garden, where she first sang a major role in 2005; three of her later exploits there – Rosina in The Barber of Seville, Adina in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore and Susanna in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro – are sampled on this portrait album.

In broad terms Kurzak impresses as a coloratura soprano of the old school – indeed a soprano (as opposed to the original mezzo) singing Rosina itself feels like a throwback in these musically correct days. The point is, though, that she has all the skills necessary to deliver ‘Una voce poco fa’ and the other coloratura showpieces here (from Lucia di Lamermoor, La traviata, Rigoletto, I Puritani) with authority. The downside is that many of them lack real individuality or depth of characterisation. There’s brittleness at the heart of some of these high-flying heroines. She doesn’t smile much as Rosina or Adele and her Gilda is a bit glacial. Elsewhere there’s warmth, especially in the brilliant aria from her fellow-Pole Moniuszko’s The Haunted Manor. George Hall