Classical Editor: Rob Barnett

Music Webmaster
Len Mullenger:

Giuseppe VERDI
Overtures - La forza del destino; Luisa Miller. Vincenzo
Vincenzo BELLINI
Norma - Casta Diva; Guerra, guerra.

Die aegyptische Helena - Zweite Brautnacht.
Anthony and
Cleopatra - Give me my robe.
Preludio sinfonico. Tosca - Vissi d'arte. Turandot - In questa reggia.

Alessandra Marc (soprano); Dallas Symphony Orchestra/Andrew Litton.
Delos DE3240 [71'13] [DDD]

Alessandra Marc boasts an impressive discography, from Strauss' Friedenstag (Koch 37111-2) and Honegger's Le Roi David (EMI CDC7 54793-2) to Zemlinsky's Lyric Sympnony with Chailly (Decca 443 569-2) and Schoenberg's Erwartung (Teldec 3984-22901-2, with Sinopoli). Delos, lucky enough to catch her live in Dallas during September 1998, here offers a generous and effectively programmed showcase for the star.

Litton has never struck me as a potential Verdi conductor, but his accounts of the overtures to Verdi's Forza and Luisa Miller are lively and well-balanced, the latter containing some excellently shaded clarinet playing. Marc is in another league, though: florid and affecting in Casta Diva, and possessed of a surprisingly strong lower register in Al dolce guidami from Donizetti's Anna Bolena. The move into the decadent world of Strauss' Die Aegyptische Helena seems a natural step forward, and here Marc is finely attuned to this hyper-emotive language. She is if anything more at home in the excerpt from Barber's Anthony and Cleopatra, really enjoying using her full, voluptuous tone.

Marc's Vissi d'arte is taken slowly, with every note tellingly inflected. Despite the tempo, neither Marc nor Litton wallow in the music. Although Marc shows some signs of strain by the end of In questa reggia from Turandot, she still projects the atmosphere well.

Very recommendable indeed. Liner notes are full and helpful. Texts and translations are included, and if the sound is not quite the 'Virtual Reality Recording' claimed on the box, it's still pretty good.


Colin Clarke



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