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Hera Hyesang Park (soprano)
I am Hera
Johannes Maria Bogner (harpsichord)
Wiener Symphoniker/Bertrand de Billy
rec. 29 June - 4 July 2020, Mozart-Saal, Konzerthaus, Vienna. DDD.
Texts and translations included with CD.
Reviewed as downloaded from press preview. No booklet with download. CD and download from some dealers; download only from others.
DEUTSCHE GRAMMOPHON 4839456 [69:14] 

In 2019 I had the pleasure of welcoming Hera Hyesang Park’s debut on CD in my review of the BR Klassik release of Rossini’s Sigismondo review. Ms Park has gone on to become a solo artist in Deutsche Grammophon’s roster. This is her debut recital for that company and a very welcome addition it is. In general I find that Park’s scenes and arias are carefully thought out and she really attempts to enliven her work with characterization and meaning that puts this ahead of many first recital discs that I have encountered. There are some reservations to be sure but they are mostly to do with the chosen tempi of Mr de Billy.

The recital begins with Eurydice’s Act Three aria from Gluck’s Orfeo. Right away she displays her quality as a singer, but also a certain unevenness of tone in her highest notes which is cause for concern for a singer who is still early on in her career. The rest of her crystal-clear voice and her expression more than compensate for this occasional failing. Serpina’s aria from Pergolesi’s La Serva Padrona is simply delightful and it suits her voice perfectly. Here too, she is able to put a face to the character of Serpina. She is excellent too in delivering Cleopatra’s long aria, as she begs the Egyptian gods for pity on her sufferings.

It is in the tracks devoted to Mozart where my points of irritation begin to rise with Maestro de Billy. In Susanna’s nocturne aria from Le Nozze di Figaro Ms Park communicates brilliantly, particularly so in the recitative, but the conductor takes the aria much too briskly, giving it a dance-like tempo which causes it to lose its sensual, seductive nature. This applies also to Pamina’s lament from Die Zauberflöte as De Billy’s tempo robs this tear-laden music of its sadness and elegiac mood. It is a pity because the music is so beautifully sung by Ms Park. Happily the aria from Idomeneo finds both Ms Park and the maestro in top form; and once again her sterling work in the recitative really stands out. In the teasing aria from Don Giovanni she is less clear in delivering Zerlina’s coy and kittenish blandishments to her injured husband.

On to Rossini: in Rosina’s aria she gives not only a display of her ability to sing coloratura but she offers one of the most fully developed vocal portrayals of this aria I have yet encountered. She does not transpose the aria, as was once so common for sopranos, and this allows her to display a wonderful warm and even chest voice. I love the little tonal inflections she creates at “E cento trappole” This sort of approach to a well-known piece of music is the mark of a skilled recitalist. With Fiorilla’s entrance aria from Il Turco in Italia her voice sounds a trifle edgy in the first half of the aria but settles in for the rest. The recital concludes with two Korean works which have a definite Western influence in their composition and are a romantic and elegant way to conclude this recital.

DG’s sound is excellent and, in spite of my complaints about some of Bertrand de Billy’s choice of tempi, he generally does a fine job with a modern orchestra. The players use period techniques of playing for the numbers that derive from the classical era. I will make no secret of stating that I tend to find this preferable to the endless stream of anemic period instrument sound that I come across in the majority of new vocal releases. Note: DG has not included a booklet with this download.

Mike Parr

Contents
Christoph Willibald GLUCK (1714-1787)
Orfeo ed Euridice, Wq30: Qual vita è questa mai [1:38]
Che fiero momento [3:15]
Giovanni Battista PERGOLESI (1710-1736)
La Serva Padrona: Stizzoso, mio stizzoso [3:36]
George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759)
Giulio Cesare in Egitto: Se pietà di me non senti [9:16]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Le nozze di Figaro, K492: Giunse alfin il momento [1:09]
Deh vieni, non tardar [2:54]
Gioachino ROSSINI (1792-1868)
Il barbiere di Siviglia: Una voce poco fa [6:09]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART
Idomeneo, K366: Quando avran fine omai [3:29]
Padre, germani, addio! [3:21]
Don Giovanni, K527: Vedrai, carino [3:19]
Die Zauberflöte, K620: Ach, ich fühl’s, es ist verschwunden [3:25]
Gioachino ROSSINI
Il Turco in Italia: Non si dà follia maggiore [3:31]
Vincenzo BELLINI (1801-1835)
I Capuleti e I Montecchi: Eccomi in lieta vesta [4:55]
Oh! quante volte ti chiedo [3:44]
Giacomo PUCCINI (1858-1924)
La bohème, SC67: Quando m’en vo soletta [2:29]
Gianni Schicchi, SC88: O mio babbino caro [2:14]
Joowon KIM (b.1984)
Like the Wind That Met with Lotus [5:27]
Un-Yung LA (1922-1993)
Psalm 23 (arr. Bernhard Eder) [5:13]

 

 



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