ALBUM TITLE: Collection: The Art of Sumi Jo
WORKS: Arias by Mozart, Offenbach, Adam, Massenet, Auber, David,
PERFORMER: Sumi Jo (soprano)ECO/Richard Bonynge
CATALOGUE NO: 458 927-2
The Korean coloratura soprano displays her art in 14 numbers, 12 of them from French opera and operetta, plus the Queen of the Night’s two arias from Die Zauberflöte. The Mozart items are formidably dispatched, as one would expect, but the disc’s main interest resides in the lesser-known pieces from works by several 19th-century French composers. Among the most engaging are ‘Je romps la chaîne qui m’engage’ from Grétry’s L’amant jaloux, a Sevillana from Massenet’s Don César de Bazan and a Bolero from Boieldieu’s La fête du village voisin, all of which Sumi Jo delivers with charm and, where appropriate, dazzling vocal agility.
Auber is the most favoured composer with four items, all from his most successful work, Le domino noir. ‘La belle Inès fait florès’ has a distinct Spanish flavour, ‘Qui je suis?’ and ‘Mes chères soeurs’ (with its chorus of nuns) are charming and the lively Bolero is a winner. The recital ends with a stunning account of Massé’s Carnaval de Venise, which used to be a favourite of coloraturas in the days of the 78s. Sumi Jo seems to be in her element in this kind of repertoire and she has firm support from the English Chamber Orchestra under Richard Bonynge (neither, alas, credited on the CD cover). Charles Osborne