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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Verdi/Tchaikovsky
LABELS: Philips
WORKS: La forza del destino (excerpts); Otello (excerpts); Aida (excerpts); Di tale amore
PERFORMER: Galina Gorchakova (soprano); Kirov Opera Orchestra & Chorus/Valery Gergiev
Galina Gorchakova’s debut recital disc has been a long time coming. There have been rumours of sessions abandoned because her Italian wasn’t up to it, but whatever the cause of the delay, it has been worth the wait and is proof that she has one of the most beautiful soprano voices to have emerged in years.


It is a curious programme: arias from Verdi’s La forza del destino, Otello, Aida and Trovatore interrupted by a block of Tchaikovsky (the Letter Scene from Onegin, and excerpts from The Queen of Spades, The Enchantress and The Oprichnik). Perhaps inevitably she is at her most effortlessly expressive singing in Russian: her Tatyana resolutely hopeful, her Liza achingly wretched and moving. But it is in the Verdi that her true interpretative range is evident, from the impeccably restrained parlando and the delicate way she allows her line to fall away in Desdemona’s ‘Willow Song’ to the soaring coloratura in ‘Di tale amore’ from Trovatore. The most satisfying singing – lustrous, thrilling and steadfast – comes in the two chunks of Forza, tracks one and seven, presumably because both begin with the familiar ‘Destiny’ motif. Forza was written for the St Petersburg’s Imperial Theatre, and the Kirov has just recorded it with Gorchakova as Leonora. If this is a taster, it will be an exceptional issue. Claire Wrathall