Verdi: Arias from Un ballo in maschera, La forza del destino, Aida, Don Carlo, Otello, Falstaff & Requiem

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3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Verdi
LABELS: Campion
WORKS: Arias from Un ballo in maschera, La forza del destino, Aida, Don Carlo, Otello, Falstaff & Requiem
PERFORMER: Inessa Galante; Choir of the Stockholm School of Economics, Riga, Latvian National SO/Terje Mikkelson
CATALOGUE NO: RRCD 1349
Inessa Galante is taxiing down the runway towards an international career. Latvia yesterday, Europe today, tomorrow the world. That’s the gist of her publicity, which rather gets in the way of the singing. And in a world in which there are never enough Verdi sopranos, it’s the singing that counts, not the spin.

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Reunited with the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra under Terje Mikkelson, Galante helps herself to generous slices of late Verdi. She’s impressive in Amelia’s two arias in Un ballo in maschera with a melting diminuendo under the gallows in ‘Ma dall’arido stelo divulsa’. And there’s exquisite soft singing at the end of ‘Ritorna vincitor’ from Aida. Has anyone dared to try and float pianissimos like these since Caballé in her salad days?

If Caballé shapes Galante’s soft singing, then it’s Leontyne Price who seems to lend a helping voice in the ‘Pace’ from La forza del destino. But Galante is no Price, here or in the ‘Libera me’ from the Requiem. Indeed it’s sometimes difficult to judge just how well proportioned her voice is as she struggles to surf the orchestral tutti at the end of ‘Tu che le vanità’ from Don Carlos.

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Nothing wrong in following your stars, but there comes a moment in every singer’s life when they have to unbuckle the safety belt. When Inessa Galante does take off… well, hopefully all will be amazed at her trajectory. Christopher Cook