Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901)
1. Tacea la notte
2. D’amor sull’ali rosee
Un ballo in maschera
3. Ecco l’orrido campo … Ma dall’arido stelo divulsa.
4. Non so le tetre immagini
La forza del destino
5. Pace, pace mio Dio
6. La vergine degl’Angeli
7. Ernani, involami
8. O patria mia.
I vespri siciliani
9. Arrigo! Ah, parli a un cor;
10. Mercè, diletti amici (Bolero)
Sondra Radvanovsky (soprano)
Academy of Vocal Arts, Moscow; Philharmonia of Russia/Orbelian.
rec. May 2008, Mosfilm Studios, Moscow.
Texts and Translations provided
DELOS DE 3404 [61:38]
Sondra Radvanovsky has built her career and reputation in the US where she has garnered rave reviews without achieving the worldwide fame she merits. When I heard her live at Covent Garden a couple of years ago I knew I was hearing something special and I have no hesitation in declaring that this recital is by far the most vital, beautiful and exciting Verdi recording by a soprano to emerge for years. The voice is huge, dusky of tone, with exquisite trills, a perfect vibrato and poised, thrilling top notes - listen to a wonderful and harmonically unexpected top C sharp in the opening aria, "Tacea la notte". It is not perfect; she sometimes employs a bit too much sliding which is beyond mere portamento when moving from note to note and there is occasionally still a hint of the flatness in the middle of the voice which elicited some complaint earlier in her career. These are minor flaws set against the refulgence of this incredible voice which recalls the glory days of Verdi sopranos of the 1950s. Her words are clearly enunciated and there is no lack of emotional identification with the roles she sings.
The programme is hardly very original, the only comparative rarity being the aria from "Il Corsaro", but I am not complaining when it is sung this well. I have read elsewhere that some listeners hear a Slavic quality in her sound, but I do not find her plaintive, lustrous tone the least un-Italianate. She seems to be in complete control of an exceptionally powerful instrument; downward runs are perfectly articulated and she can fine back her huge tone to produce heart-stopping diminuendos. On this showing, I'd move heaven and earth to hear her Aida. As a clincher, she concludes the last aria from "I vespri siciliani" with a stunning top E! I am now looking forward to hearing her album of duets with Hvorostovsky and the same Russian orchestra again conducted by the experienced Orbelian.
This incredible voice recalls the glory days of Verdi sopranos of the 1950s.