Russian Songs and Arias

Sergey Vasil’yevich RACHMANINOV (1873 - 1943)
1. Vocaliz (Vocalise), Op. 34, No. 14 [7:07]
Pyotr Il’yich TCHAIKOVSKY (1840 - 1893)
The Queen of Spades
2. Otkuda eti slyozï (Why do you flow, my tears?)(Act 1 sc. 2) [4:22]
Nikolay Andreyevich RIMSKY-KORSAKOV (1844 - 1908)
The Tsar’s Bride
3. V Novgorode (In Novgorod)(Act 2) [6:07]
4. Ivan Sergeich (Ivan Sergeyevich) (Act 4) [5:37]
Sergey Vasil’yevich RACHMANINOV
5. Ne poy krasavitsa (Do not sing to me, my beauty), Op. 4, No. 4 [4:24]
Francesca da Rimini
6. O, ne rïday, moy Paolo, ne nado (Oh, do not weep, my Paolo) (Scene 2) [2:45]
The Queen of Spades
7. Uzh polnoch’ blizitsya ... Akh, istomilas’ ya (Midnight is near ... I am tired) (Act 3, Scene 2) [4:54]
8. Kabï znala ya (Had I known), Op. 47, No. 1 [5:53]
9. Ya li v pole da ne travishka bïla? (Was I not a blade of grass in the field?), Op. 47, No. 7 [6:27]
Eugene Onegin
10. Puskay pogibnu ya (Even if it means I perish), Letter Scene (Act 1, Scene 2) [12:27]
Dinara Alieva (soprano)
New Russia State Symphony Orchestra/Dmitry Yablonsky
rec. Studio 5, Russian State TV & Radio Company KULTURA, Moscow, 28 August - 3 September 2011
The Russian texts and English translations are available online
NAXOS 8.572893 [60:04]

Born in Baku in Azerbaijan and studying at the Music Academy there, Dinara Alieva has been very successful in a number of competitions lately, including Operalia in Milan 2010, Francesco Viñas in Barcelona, Maria Callas in Athens and Elena Obraztsova in St Petersburg. She has also appeared at many of the prestigious opera houses and is booked several years ahead.
Judging by this debut recital she seems well equipped to pursue a glorious career for years to come. Rachmaninov’s ubiquitous Vocalise is as good a test as any song or aria when it comes to voice production, beauty of tone, legato and technical accomplishment. She has it all, including a fine trill. What we can’t judge from that piece is her dramatic ability and her handling of text. The first act aria from The Queen of Spades is a good touchstone in those respects and she certainly doesn’t lack dramatic intensity. Though my Russian is poor I was still able to catch quite a lot of the words.
Two arias from Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Tsar’s Bride follow next. This is R-K at his very best: melodious and with admirable orchestral colours. In particular the aria from act IV is truly lovely and it is difficult to imagine it better sung.
Back to Rachmaninov and one of his earliest songs, here presented in a beautiful orchestral arrangement by Ruben Stepanyan. From the opera Francesca da Rimini, based on the story from Dante’s Inferno, we get Francesca’s aria from the second scene. It is voluptuous music and the tessitura is high-lying, but that doesn’t bother Dinara Alieva at all. She sings it with bell-like clarity.
The rest of the disc is devoted to more Tchaikovsky. First more from Queen of Spades and the aria from Act III which is one of the highlights - both of the opera and this disc. Then two songs from his Op. 47 - again wonderful music and it is interesting to hear them with orchestral accompaniment. I have been lucky to hear several superb readings of Tatiana’s role in Eugene Onegin in various opera houses across the years: Maria Fontosh, born in Ukraine, in Stockholm some years ago and somewhat later Soile Isokoski in Helsinki. Dinara Alieva is in their league, deeply inside the role and with glorious youthful tone.
I am also full of admiration for the playing of the New Russia State Symphony Orchestra under the inspiring direction of Dmitry Yablonsky. The sound is first class too. This is a recording to treasure!
Göran Forsling
A recording to treasure! 


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