The Verdi Album
Arias from Il Trovatore, Luisa Miller, Attila, Stiffelio, La forza del destino, Simon Boccanegra, Otello, Don Carlo & Nabucco
Sonya Yoncheva (soprano); Munich Radio Orchestra/Massimo Zanetti
BR Klassik 88985417982 52:51 mins
Bulgarian soprano Sonya Yoncheva’s repertoire runs from Baroque to Puccini, but here it’s all Verdi: early, middle, and those late Verdi arias that really test a singer’s mettle. ‘Liberamente or piangi …. Oh! Nel fuggente nuvolo’ from Attila has elegant legato, and the cabaletta to Nabucco’s ‘Salgo già del trono aurato’ is thrilling, even if the final top note spreads. She’s also a touching Leonora in Il trovatore. It’s the later roles that need working on. ‘Pace, pace’ from La forza del destino, begins and ends well, but in the middle section is as slow as a funeral procession and the pitch wanders across the road. While the Munich orchestra don’t provide a lot of support in ‘Tu che la vanità’, Yoncheva is a slightly damp eyed Elisabetta, her Italian distinctly clotted. That slight burr in the tone that Eastern European sopranos produce and a fearless attack is much in evidence in arias from Stiffelio and Simon Boccanegra. What is missing here and elsewhere is any sense of character. Who are these women? What are their histories?