This splendid new recital disc, along with Gheorghiu's recent complete recordings of "La Boheme" and "Werther", prove that she possesses one of the most ravishingly beautiful, expressive, and versatile soprano voices in existence today. Though some may insist that she is a lyric soprano, who should not be treading into the demanding roles of Verdi's middle and later periods, Gheorghiu easily proves that she is perfectly capable of rising to the challenge, and presents arias that are technically secure and full of interpretive insight. In the selections from "I Vespri Siciliani", "Rigoletto," and "Il Trovatore," her trills, adept coloratura, and secure top evoke associations with Sutherland. In fact, hearing her live and on recordings, I've often thought of her as a worthy successor to Sutherland, my all-time favorite singer. Her high C in "O Patria Mia," a problem spot for many sopranos, is full and lovely, without any hint of strain. In "Pace, pace," she proves that there are significant reserves of power behind her lovely voice. Each character is individualized, illuminated by careful attention to text.
It is no longer necessary to lament the absence of Verdian sopranos. With Angela Gheorghiu, Sondra Radvanovsky, Veronica Villarroel, Deborah Voigt, Maria Guleghina performing today, there are plenty of voices capable of singing Verdi's demandig female roles. Gheorghiu is an intelligent artist -- she won't sing Aida right away in the opera house, and risk damaging her voice; but she is perfectly capable of taking on Gilda, Desdemona, or the Trovatore Leonora right now. Let's hope that impresarios like Joe Volpe, at the Met, take notice, and offer her some meaty roles beyond just Liu and Mimi. I highly recommend this disc -- along with Fleming and Bartoli, Gheorghiu is undoubtedly one of the great artists of our time.