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Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901)
Verdi Heroines
Elena Moșuc (soprano)
Paulo Ferreira (tenor: Sempre libera)
Academic Choir Ivan Goran Kovačić/Luka Vukšić
Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra/Ivo Lipanović
rec. 2015, Vatroslav Lisinski Concert Hall, Zagreb, Croatia
SOLO MUSICA SM279 [77:00]

What particularly appeals to me in this excellent Verdi collection is the broad range of arias from eight operas, plus extracts from the Requiem. I am delighted that lesser known, early operas such as I due Foscari, Aroldo and Attila have been sampled along the grand operas Don Carlo and I vespri siciliani.

Elena Moșuc has sung a number of Verdi roles from early to late period, including Leonora (Il trovatore), Desdemona (Otello), Gilda (Rigoletto), Luisa (Luisa Miller), Medora (Il corsaro), Alive Ford (Falstaff) and Violetta (La traviata). She considers the latter as the “pinnacle of opera singing”, a role she sang at La Scala, Milan in 2007 under Lorin Maazel. Moșuc, a bel canto specialist, explains in a booklet note that since the time of Maria Callas it has become common for many Verdi soprano roles to be sung by weighty, dramatic voices rather than those of the bel canto style that have become more associated with operas by Rossini, Donizetti and Bellini. She points out that early Verdi roles were written with stylistic characteristics of the bel canto tradition in mind, with middle-period Verdi moved further away from the custom. His late-phase operas from around Aida to Falstaff saw “the emergence of simplified but expressive parts for the modern soprano lirico spinto or soprano drammatico.” Moșuc explains that, as a bel canto singer, she is striving to re-establish the tradition through this album devoted mainly to early-to-middle Verdi.

Several arias stand out as highlights for Moșuc’s outstanding performance quality. In the romanza Non pianger, mia compagna from Don Carlo, Elisabeth has a heavy heart singing farewell to her lady-in-waiting (the countess) who is being sent into exile. Moșuc displays her appealing tone to outstanding effect with an especially lovely extended high note at the conclusion. Her bright high register has a noticeable vibrato that does not intrude too much. In the aria D’amor sull’ali rosee from Il trovatore, Leonore has come to the prison attempting to free her lover Manrico. It is particularly impressive here how Moșuc darkens her tone so beautifully, and the slide to her upper register seems effortless. Her highly effective use of fioritura serves to add character to the vocal line without obscuring the text.

In Violetta’s heartbreaking aria Addio del passato from La traviata, Moșuc sings with deep expression. She gives an intimate, highly personal performance as the courtesan dying from tuberculosis who is bidding farewell to happiness with Alfredo. Moșuc’s luminously ringing high notes, that sound so effortless, are noteworthy. From I Vespri Siciliani the aria Merce, dilette amiche a renowned Spanish bolero has Elena showing great happiness. Moșuc has superb feel for rhythm, line and dynamic. Once again I find her fioritura especially arresting, helping to create additional character.

The Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra under Ivo Lipanović plays well in a satisfyingly paced performance. No problems at all with the Academic Choir Ivan Goran Kovačić, well coached, with an expressive, unified sound. The sound engineers provide reasonable clarity and balance. In the booklet there are two detailed notes by Elena Moșuc but unacceptably there are no sung texts with English translations.

Michael Cookson
01. Non pianger, mia compagna – Don Carlo
02. No, Mi Lasciate – I Due Foscari
03. Tu Al Cui Sguardo Onnipossente – I Due Foscari
04. Di clemenza parlando e pietÓ? 0 patrizi , tremat – I Due Foscari
05. Timor di me? – Il trovatore
06. D’amore sull’ali rosee – Il trovatore
07. Miserere d’un alma gia vicina – Il trovatore/
08. Tu vedrai che amore in terra – Il trovatore
09. Merce, dilette amiche – I Vespri Siciliani
10. Oh cielo! Dove son io! – Aroldo
11. Ah, dagli scanni eterei – Aroldo
12. Ah dal sen di quelle tomba – Aroldo
13. Santo di patria – Attila
14. Fammi ridar la spada... Da te questo or m'Ŕ concesso – Attila
15. Trionfai! – Macbeth
16. E strano! ╚ strano! – La traviata
17. Ah! fors e lui – La traviata
18. Follie! Follie! – La traviata
19. Sempre libera – La Traviata
20. Teneste la promessa – La traviata
21. Addio del passato – La traviata
22. Libera Me – Requiem
23. Requiem aeternam – Requiem
24. Libera me, Domine, de morte aeterna – Requiem


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