Donizetti, Verdi, Berlioz, Gounod, Saint-Sa‘ns, Massenet & Gluck

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COMPOSERS: Berlioz,Donizetti,Gounod,Massenet & Gluck,Saint-Sa‘ns,Verdi
ALBUM TITLE: Collection
WORKS: Opera arias by Donizetti, Verdi, Berlioz, Gounod, Saint-Saëns, Massenet & Gluck
PERFORMER: Shirley Verrett (mezzo-soprano)RCA Italiana Opera Orchestra/ Georges Prêtre, Thomas Schippers, Erich Leinsdorf
CATALOGUE NO: 09026 61457 2 ADD (1964-7)
With arias by composers as various as Gluck, Berlioz and Saint-Saëns, there is little logic behind the programme here except as a vehicle for Shirley Verrett’s formidable talent. Made between 1964 and 1967, the recordings on this disc combine every vocal style from the glorious, open-throated coloratura of arias from Donizetti’s Anna Bolena and La favorita via sublimely poignant extracts from Gounod’s unjustly neglected Sapho and searing drama from Massenet’s Werther, to a knock-out Verdian climax with the ‘Rataplan’ chorus from La forza del destino and Ulrica’s terrifyingly dark ‘Re dell’abisso affrettati’ from Un ballo in maschera, proving incontrovertibly that Verrett is one of the great mezzos of our time. Claire Wrathall