Mozart, Rossini, Mascagni, Leoncavallo, Tchaikovsky, Smetana & Bizet

Our rating 
2.0 out of 5 star rating 2.0

COMPOSERS: Leoncavallo,Mascagni,Mozart,Rossini,Smetana & Bizet,Tchaikovsky
LABELS: Supraphon
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Dagmar Pecková
WORKS: Arias
PERFORMER: Dagmar Pecková (mezzo-soprano), Valentin Prolat (tenor), Roman Janál, Ivan Kusnjer (baritone); Prague Philharmonia/Jirí Belohlávek
CATALOGUE NO: SU 3654-2
This mixed operatic concert was recorded live in Prague’s Rudolfinum in November 2001. Standards, too, are mixed, and perhaps not what one would expect from such a musical capital, and with such a respected conductor as Jirí Belohlávek in charge. The sound is also dense and fuzzy, with some awkward balance.

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The focus is on Dagmar Pecková, whose ample and well-produced mezzo is well attuned to the needs of Carmen and Santuzza (even though the latter is really a soprano role), while she fines it down effectively for Mozart’s Cherubino. However, she offers generalised interpretations, with insufficient nuance. Her Carmen, for instance, is correct but heavy-handed and sexless, with the text carelessly delivered. She takes breaths in odd places in ‘Voi lo sapete’.

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The tenor, Valentin Prolat, also has an attractive voice, well-suited to the needs of Lensky’s aria and Don José, though his Flower Song is indifferently sung. Neither of the baritones rises even to these standards. To hear Don Giovanni’s so-called Champagne aria sung in such a tired manner in the city where the opera was premiered in 1787 is depressing, while Ivan Kusnjer’s Pagliacci Prologue is lightweight. George Hall