ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Elizabeth Futral
WORKS: Arias & scenes by Handel, Donizetti, Rossini, Mozart, Floyd, (in English)
PERFORMER: Elizabeth Futral, etc; Geoffrey Mitchell Choir, Philharmonia Orchestra/Steven White
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 3096
No opportunity of hearing an artist as delightful as the soprano Elizabeth Futral should be missed, so this disc is very welcome. But it would be even more welcome were the programme not such a musical jumble sale: all the pieces are worth hearing, but you might not want to hear them in quick succession or in the order they’re programmed. Still, as a ‘portrait disc’, albeit one that as part of Chandos’s Opera in English series presents her singing in one language only, it gives a good picture of Futral’s versatility: the range is from Handel to Carlisle Floyd, whose 1954 opera Susannah allows Futral to bring something from her native America.
Indeed, Susannah’s aria, full of yearning, is one of the highlights here, but we also get plenty of the lively presence she radiates on stage. She varies her tone as the situation demands, and is at her purest as Mozart’s Constanze. If most things are equally successful, I’m especially drawn to some of her extracts from French operas; and her dazzling coloratura as Lakmé is as compelling as the duskier tone she supplies for Berlioz’s Héro. We get more than just arias, and in the duets and ensembles her fellow singers are as supportive as the Philharmonia under Steven White. John Allison