ALBUM TITLE: Russian Light
WORKS: Arias from Glinka: Ruslan and Lyudmila; Rimsky-Korsakov: Sadko; The Golden Cockerel; The Tsar’s Bride; Stravinsky: The Nightingale; Shostakovich: Moscow, Cheryomushki; plus Rachmaninov songs
PERFORMER: Olga Peretyatko (soprano); Ural Philharmonic Orchestra/Dmitry Liss
CATALOGUE NO: 88985352232
Olga Peretyatko’s impressive international career has encompassed a lot of Western repertoire, particularly Italian, but in her fourth album she returns to her native roots, idiomatically supported by the Ural Philharmonic Orchestra. The Glinka Ruslan and Lyudmila cavatina, of course, is distinctly Italianate, and she carries off its exposed coloratura with appropriate panache. The ‘Hymn to the Sun’ from Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Golden Cockerel, though, and the ‘Snow Maiden’ aria betray touches of shrillness at the very top. In the lower-lying ‘Princess’s Lullaby’ from Rimsky-Korsakov’s Sadko, and as the distracted, dying Marfa from Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Tsar’s Bride, Peretyatko’s rich lower tones emerge to good effect, and the voice takes on more character – Russian shade as well as light.
The Rachmaninov songs suit that lower register particularly well; the famous Vocalise is luxuriantly attractive, and Don’t Sing, My Beauty sensuously nostalgic, likewise Rimsky’s languishing Nightingale enslaved by the Rose. Stravinsky’s own very Rimskyan Nightingale was her successful debut role at the New York Met. But she closes with two songs from Shostakovich’s determinedly chirpy musical Moscow, Cheryomushki, commissioned to promote a new housing development, and of which he was apparently deeply ashamed. Nevertheless Peretyatko brings out their faux-naif charm, to round off a very enjoyable programme.
Michael Scott Rohan