Tchaikovsky, Balakirev, Rimsky-Korsakov, Cui & Rachmaninoff

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Balakirev,Cui & Rachmaninoff,Rimsky-Korsakov,Tchaikovsky
LABELS: EMI Debut
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Russian Song Recital
WORKS: Songs
PERFORMER: Daniil Shtoda (tenor), Larissa Gergieva (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: CDZ 5 74232 2
Anyone fortunate enough to have attended the Kirov’s performance of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Snow Maiden last year would have noticed the remarkable tenor Daniil Shtoda (born 1977) as the Tsar. EMI, however, was on to him already, and this latest addition to its admirable Debut series is a revelation.

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Shtoda’s talent is extraordinary for many reasons: the sheer tonal beauty of his voice, reminiscent of the young Nicolai Gedda; its incredible range – resonant, burnished low notes rising fluently to a startlingly secure falsetto; and his interpretative skills and attention to text, not to mention his impeccable diction, are outstanding.

This glorious recital with the pianist Larissa Gergieva, peerless in this repertoire, features familiar romansi by Tchaikovsky, Rimsky, Rachmaninoff, Balakirev and Cui. But Shtoda casts a new light on them with his intelligent and carefully judged inflections: his deliberate stressing of ‘odin’ (alone) at the end of the first line of Tchaikovsky’s ‘Again, as before, I’m alone’; the sheer wonder in his voice at the word ‘chuda’ (miracle) in Cui’s beguiling Pushkin setting ‘Statue at Tsarskoe Selo’; the sensuous orientalism of his vocalise in Rimsky’s haunting ‘The Rose and the Nightingale’, usually the preserve of a mezzo and sung here at its original pitch.

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Let’s hope the Kirov brings him to London this summer, preferably as Herman in The Queen of Spades.