Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901)
Overtures - La forza del destino; Luisa Miller. Vincenzo
Vincenzo BELLINI (1801-35)
Norma - Casta Diva; Guerra, guerra.
Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949)
Die aegyptische Helena - Zweite Brautnacht.
Samuel BARBER (1910-81)
Anthony and Cleopatra - Give me my robe.
Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924)
Preludio sinfonico. Tosca - Vissi d'arte. Turandot - In questa
Alessandra Marc (soprano);
Dallas Symphony Orchestra/Andrew
Delos DE3240 [71'13]
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.