Celine Byrne - For Eternity
Alfredo CATALANI (1854 – 1893)
1. Ebben? Ne Andrò lontana (La Wally) [3:37]
Antonin DVORAK (1841 – 1904)
2. Song to the Moon (Rusalka) [5:59]
Pablo LUNA (1880 – 1942)
3. Canción Española (El Niño Judío) [5:18]
Georges BIZET (1838 – 1875)
4. Je dis que rien ne m’épouvante (Carmen) [5:00]
Giacomo PUCCINI (1858 – 1924)
5. Un bel di, vedremo (Madama Butterfly) [4:18]
Federico Moreno TORROBA (1891 – 1982)
6. La Petenera (La Marchenera) [2:54]
Leo DELIBES (1836 – 1891)
7. Les Filles de Cadix [3:15]
8. Crisantemi [6:18]
9. Vissi d’arte (Tosca) [3:24]
Charles GOUNOD (1818 – 1893)
10. L’Air des bijoux (Faust) [4:38]
11. Si, mi chiamano Mimi (La Bohème) [4:53]
Enrique GRANADOS (1867 – 1916)
12. La Maja y el Ruiseñor (Goyescas) [6:22]
Ruggero LEONCAVALLO (1858 – 1919)
13. Qual fiamma avea nel guardo … Stridono lassù (Pagliacci) [4:40]
Bonus track:
Andrej BABIC (?)
14. For Eternity [3:11]
Celine Byrne (soprano)
RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra/Marco Zambelli
rec. National Concert Hall, Dublin, 17-18 May 2010
No texts enclosed
RTE LYRIC FM CD 128 [63:53]

The Irish soprano Celine Byrne has, not least through her collaboration with José Carreras, appeared in many concerts around the world. She has built up an operatic repertoire of around a dozen roles, some of which are represented on the present disc. She has a beautiful lirico-spinto voice with enough power for the dramatic climaxes to ring out.. Her timbre is actually more mezzo than soprano but she has no difficulty with encompassing the highest notes. A lot of the songs and arias on this disc are impressively sung but I feel that she has not yet grown into some of the roles. She seems to feel at home in La Wally (tr. 1) and she sings the Song to the Moon from Rusalka beautifully. The aria from the zarzuela El Niño Judio is simply glorious but I would have liked her to scale down for the more lyrical moments.

In Micala’s aria from Carmen she manages this admirably with some really fine nuanced singing. The Butterfly aria opens rather blandly but later on she shows more true feeling. One of the best tracks is Torroba’s La Petenera which offers glorious singing and fiery temperament. Here she is impressive. Les Filles de Cadix is light and charming with a fine sense for the rhythms. I don’t think Tosca as a character has quite settled yet but vocally Byrne has the measure of Vissi d’arte. Stage experience would deepen the reading, but though she has sung Marguerite the Jewel aria just seems to be skimming the surface. There is no doubt, however, that she has the technical qualifications.

Mimi’s aria from the first act of La Bohème finds Byrne at her very best. This is a touching portrait of the seamstress, whose fragility is well depicted. The aria from Goyescas, not heard in recital very often, which is a pity, was an inspired choice and besides Ms Byrne’s confident and beautiful singing one can also admire the orchestra with lush strings and fine woodwind. Nedda’s aria from Pagliacci is another winner, beautiful and with brilliant top notes.

The bonus track, For Eternity, was written by Croatian Andrej Babic, who has composed many Eurovision songs since 2003 and is renowned for having written songs for four different countries, including Portugal. This one has a beautiful melody and Celine Byrne sings it well and with feeling. I can’t help feeling, though, that the finale, with chorus and orchestra is a bit over the top – but this is part of the genre.

As an interlude (tr. 8) we get a purely orchestral number, Puccini’s Crisantemi, which originally was written for string quartet. With double basses added for deeper sonorities it works well also for string orchestra.

The recording is fully worthy of the occasion and the orchestra play well. Celine Byrne has a fine voice and she employs it with taste and musicality. With some more stage experience she will find even more expressive means but already she has a great deal to offer also as an interpreter.

Göran Forsling

A fine voice employed with taste and musicality.