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Made for Opera (Nadine Sierra)

Nadine Sierra (soprano); Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai/Riccardo Frizza (DG)

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

Made for Opera
Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor – extracts; Gounod: Roméo et Juliette – extracts; Verdi: La traviata – extracts
Nadine Sierra (soprano); Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai/Riccardo Frizza
DG 486 0942   57:55 mins


Most operatic recital discs sample one aria each from a dozen operas. The American soprano Nadine Sierra’s second album concentrates on just three roles in her active repertoire, whose solo numbers are presented complete.

The Italian operas suit Sierra to a T. Whichever extract from La traviata one chooses, her performance is accomplished, accurate and absolutely in character, also exemplifying her considered phrasing and easy access to her top register. The first-act double aria is fluent and sensitive, while ‘Addio del passato’ is imaginative in its expressive engagement.

In the Donizetti extracts, Lucia’s fountain aria is beautifully shaped, once again its exactness of execution matched by clear interpretative aims. The Mad Scene is atmospherically realised, with conductor Riccardo Frizza, the chorus and orchestra entering fully into its spirit. The extensive cadenza with flute obbligato – not by Donizetti, but now thought to date from Melba’s time (1888-89), and probably written by the diva’s teacher Mathilde Marchesi – is included.

Equally as skilful as the preceding items, the Roméo et Juliette extracts are marginally less convincing: ‘Je veux vivre’ is virtuosic, but while a soprano such as Melba (who studied the role with the composer) interpreted the acciaccaturas as indicating breathless excitement, here they are merely notes.

George Hall

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