Great Operatic Arias, Vol. 20

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COMPOSERS: Beethoven,Britten,Dvoπák,Gluck,Handel,Korngold,Lehár & Rodgers,Menotti,Mozart,Wagner
LABELS: Chandos
WORKS: Great Operatic Arias, Vol. 20
PERFORMER: Christine Brewer


The American dramatic soprano’s collection is wide-ranging, covering a period of some 230 years, and including the musical and operetta as well as song and opera. Not everything suits her. Though she brings ample tone and a good sense of line to whatever she attempts, the extracts from Figaro and Handel’s Rodelinda need more life and less weight to be negotiated without a suggestion of the heavy tread.

Brewer’s kind of voice – large and lavish in intent, as well as motion – takes better to the second extract from Gluck’s Alceste, ‘Great Gods! Cruel fortune has cursed me’ in this English version, and she brings a touch of vision to Elsa’s Dream from Lohengrin, while her intelligent vocal management gives her grandly impressive version of the great Fidelio scene real dramatic cut and thrust.


But she sounds over-earnest in a duet from Lehár’s Land of Smiles, in which she’s joined by Timothy Robinson, who is overparted in the Die tote Stadt extract, and too often her performance is compromised by inaudible consonants. George Hall