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Joie de Vivre!
Charles GOUNOD (1819-1893)
Je veux vivre (Roméo et Juliette) [3.25]
Jacques OFFENBACH (1819-1880)
Conduisez-moi vers celui que j’adore (Robinson Crusoe) [3.44]

Ambroise THOMAS (1811-1896)
Oui pour ce soir je suis reine
(Mignon) [5.41]

Jules MASSENET (1842-1912)
marche sur tous les chemins (Manon) [5.13]
Jewel Song
(Faust) [4.35]

Giacomo MEYERBEER (1791-1864)
Ombre légère qui suis mes pas (Dinorah) [7.04]

Daniel AUBER (1782-1871)
C’est l’histoire amoureuse
(Manon Lescaut) [4.09]

Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924)
Quando m’en vo (La Bohème) [2.31]
Ore dolci e divine
(La Rondine) [4.48]

Johann STRAUSS II (1825-1899)
G’schichten aus dem
Wienerwald - Tales from the Vienna Woods [4.38]
Carl ZELLER (1842-1898)
Schenkt man sich Rosen in
Tirol (Der Vogelhandler) [2.38]
Laughing Song
(Die Fledermaus) [3.21]

- Voices of Spring [6.46]

Ivor NOVELLO (1893-1951)
Waltz of my heart (The Dancing Years) [2.42]

Richard MILLS (b.1949)
Love’s Coming
– world premiere recording [3.19]
Until we meet again
Irish blessing song [2.24]

Amelia Farrugia (soprano)
BBC Symphony Orchestra/Alexander Briger
rec. 26-29 September 2005, Maida Vale, London
DECCA 987 5237 [67.47]

We’ve been very fortunate in Australia to have nurtured some promising sopranos. To mind there’s Emma Matthews, Tiffany Speight, Sara Macliver and Amelia Farrugia. Not that any of them have emerged overnight. Most have plied their trade for many a year. I saw Amelia Farrugia, for example, singing Nanetta to Bryn Terfel’s Falstaff with Simone Young conducting in an Opera Australia production in the late 1990s. Some of the sops, however, are a bit hesitant about taking the plunge in trying to seek fame and status overseas. Not Farrugia. As you will have noted in my profile of her, she is no shrinking violet. In fact Joie de Vivre, a project she has fought for and financed with the help of her friends, was conceived in Australia and given birth in the UK. The BBC kindly lent their symphony orchestra for the occasion, and they are conducted admirably by Alexander Briger; another Aussie talent – and Sir Charles Mackerras’s nephew to boot! 

In this album Farrugia has a young and sprightly voice she is not afraid to exploit in arias that are a veritable what’s-what of the coloratura repertoire. From Gounod’s Jewel Song to Novello’s Waltz of my Heart she stretches her tonsils to their limits and then - just to show how talented she is - switches to ‘repose mode’ in Until we Meet Again, a lullaby written by Richard Mills (another Aussie) especially for this album. Just strings and harp. Mesmerising! Her rendition of Adele’s Laughing Song from Strauss’s Die Fledermaus is thrilling, a fact I can vouch for having seen her perform it on stage. Farrugia’s diction needs a bit of tweaking here and there but that is a minor complaint. Plus I wish she’d included the Nanetta aria from Falstaff, Dal labbro il canto estasio vola; but being a duet that would have meant introducing a tenor and we have a few Aussie ones here that would have filled the bill! Do you get the feeling I’m trying to boost the Australian balance of payments? In any event the duet is so ethereal it would have turned what is an already impressive debut album into celestial bliss. 

Randolph Magri-Overend 
see also Review by Evan Dickerson who was not quite so supportive


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