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Momento Immobile
Venera Gimadieva (soprano)
Natalia Brzezińska (mezzo-soprano)
Alberto Sousa (tenor)
The HallÚ/Gianluca Marcian˛
rec. 2018, Stoller Hall, Manchester, UK
Sung texts with German and English translations enclosed

The young Russian soprano Venera Gimadieva has obviously made a name for herself since she joined the Bolshoi theatre in 2011. Violetta in La traviata has been one of her signature roles, Lucia di Lammermoor another. On this disc, which is her recital debut, Lucia logically is represented, together with Donizetti’s bel canto compatriots Bellini and Rossini. Her calling-card here is Giulietta in Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi, and after having savoured the opening French horn solo, expertly played, she plunges into the aria Eccomi in lieta vesta, where she reveals a well-schooled voice, bright, slightly vibrant – but not in a negative sense – and technically secure. In Linda di Chamounix’s O luce di quest’anima she shows her coloratura credentials, and the high-lying tessitura poses no problems for her. Adina’s charming aria from L’elisir d’amore is well sung, though tenor Alberto Sousa’s Nemorino is only middling and the producers didn’t even bother to print his contribution in the booklet. Tancredi was one of Rossini’s break-through operas and Amenaide’s Come dolce all’anima mia is a welcome reminder that the master from Pesaro was a fully-fledged tunesmith as early as 1813. He was only 21 at the time.

Then comes Lucia in Regnava nel silenzio and Ms Gimadieva’s trill is fully up to the mark, while Natalia Brzezińska’s plummy mezzo as Alisa is no great asset. In Amina’s final, joyous aria from La sonnambula Sousa is back, now as Elvino. His joy is less obvious than Amina’s and again his lines are missing from the texts. Norina in Don Pasquale seems to suit Venera Gimadieva best, and I would like to hear her in a complete recording of the opera. Rossini’s Otello is one of his most interesting but it has been overshadowed by Verdi’s masterpiece, which is a pity. The long Willow Song scene with Emilia is certainly Rossini at his most inspired and it is well executed. Mathilde’s Sombre forŕt from Guillaume Tell, is not exactly in the bel canto tradition and is usually sung by more spinto like sopranos – Cheryl Studer and Montserrat CaballÚ have sung the role successfully in the past and more recently Malin Bystr÷m made deep impact on Pappano’s live recording. I’m afraid Venera Gimadieva isn’t quite on that level. Generally speaking I feel there is a sameness in expression in her readings, irrespective of which woman she portrays, and the vibrancy I mentioned in the first aria, though attractive in itself, tends to widen to a slightly annoying beat at forte, which lessens the impact of her singing. It’s also quite possible that hearing her in the flesh would be more inspiring. The sometimes antiseptic atmosphere of the studio removes the personality. Some quotes from reviews of live performances, printed on the back of the booklet, point in that direction.

G÷ran Forsling

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