Obviously programmed to show Susan Anthony’s voice
in the very best light, here is a recital that reveals a talented young
singer who promises much. She has graced the stages of many major international
opera houses, and there is much on this disc to indicate why.
The Chausson and the Menotti excerpts provide the main
interest. The eleven-minute excerpt from Le Roi Arthus is very
beautiful, the interpreters pointing up the Wagnerian influence (particularly
the Wagnerian fanfares around the ten-minute mark). Commendably, Anthony
and Anguélov resist the temptation to languish in the prevailing
Romanticism and the performance is all the more successful because of
The easy lyricism of Menotti’s The Old Maid and
the Thief comes naturally to this singer. Both of the Menotti excerpts
serve as a reminder that, as far as this composer is concerned, there
is plenty of work to be done in exploring his music and this is most
definitely a step in the right direction. Leinsdorf’s performance of
Menotti’s The Death of the Bishop of Brindisi on RCA Victor Living
Stereo 09026 63747-2 review
is a logical next step for the curious.
Interesting repertoire aside, the twin peaks of Wagner
and Richard Strauss are where Anthony will stand or fall. Her account
of Einsam in trüben Tagen from Lohengrin is convincing,
even if an edge to the voice acts as a periodic distraction. Her first
entry in Allmächt’ge Jungfrau from Tannhäuser
is very impressive, and the excerpt is clearly included in this collection
to show off her control of legato.
If anything, the four Strauss excerpts provide even
greater challenges. In general, Anthony meets them: only a weak lower
register interrupts the flow at times. The extended final excerpt from
Salome (just over a quarter of an hour) gives her more of a chance
to flex her muscles. Perhaps she lacks the manic, chilling qualities
this music demands, though. The orchestra can sound business-like at
times, a fault that this combination of the Slovak RSO and Anguélov
have been guilty of elsewhere in the Arte Nova Voices series. Astrid
Varnay in a complete 1953 assumption of the role of Salome with the
Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra under Hermann Weigert on Orfeo d’Or
C503002I, issued in 2000, provides the real thing.
Documentation is, as usual in this series, a weak point.
There are biographies of both singer and conductor, but nothing whatsoever
on the music: a particular shame for the lesser-known excerpts.