6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
More Kasarova's Magic!,
This review is from: French Opera Arias (Audio CD)
'This is the stuff of legends' -exclaimed Gramophone in their review of Kasarova's debut disc, released in 1997. I don't know if this new one will create the same excitement in the music press but to me it will always be 'the stuff of legends', maybe even more so than the first. It rarely happens that a singer makes me an addict of repertoire I never really cared about. The last time I was so totally captivated by a vocal recital was with Bartoli's Gluck disc. But Bartoli's task was much easier; I had been a huge Gluck fan for years before her disc appeared. Kasarova's chances of captivating me with her French recital were rather meager but her solo discs are such rarities... that I couldn't resist. And the rest is indeed 'the stuff of legends'...
Obviously I can't call myself a connoisseur of this repertoire but I also never thought of myself as a mere 'voice' addict: what mattered more was the repertoire sung, so you'd never see me buying Bartoli's Bellini or Donizetti arias disc if she suddenly decided to record such a thing. So why all of a sudden do I find myself buying a disc of French arias by composers - with the exception of Berlioz - I never really cared about? Well, that's Kasarova's magic... I can't offer you a track by track analysis of this disc - I'll leave it to those who know a bit about French opera of the period - but I can assure you that this is singing of great beauty and unsurpassed artistry (and in beautiful French). It is hard to pick absolute favorites in this collection of gems, but if I had to choose then it would be Massenet's "Pleurez, pleurez mes yeux" (track 9) from "Le Cid" with a marvellous clarinet solo, or "Nuit resplendissante" from Gounod's "Cinq-Mars". In the recitative to Stefano's aria from Gounod's "Romeo et Juliette" ("Depuis hier je cherche en vain mon maitre") I would like to hear a bit more of the arrogance that the text calls for, but this is a small detail.
The orchestral playing of the Munich Radio Orchestra under Frederic Chaslin is a true delight, and this is not one of those casual compliments that one usually adds to a review to make it 'complete'. The playing is really gorgeous and brings as much pleasure to the ear as Kasarova's singing.
Surprisingly, the booklet's essay (by Andre Tubeuf) is not devoted to an introduction to the French opera of the nineteenth century, but talks about the tradition of French singing that was often the domain of foreign singers. Kasarova is continuing this tradition. Says Tubeuf: "If her programme had included the "Tribut de Zamora", her guiding star would have been Gabrielle Krauss; if the "Roi de Lahore", then Josephine de Reszke and if Saint-Saens' "Ancetre", then Felia Litvinne". This may sound like a subtle reproach on Tubeuf's part, for the total timing of the CD is only about 54 minutes.
And this is my only quibble about this wonderful release but it is not really important. Artistry of this calibre is so rare that it is well worth the price of the disc, however short. Kasarova's singing has a certain old-fashioned quality, that total dedication that characterizes the artistry of all too few singers today (Bartoli , Fleming and in her own way von Otter are the only other examples I can think of). A wonderful disc and a real treat! (Kicek)
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 3 Mar 2011 08:14:28 GMT
Judy Spotheim says:
Half of your comments are about "me, me, me...on top of that you admit not to know what the French repertoire is about. You feed us with all sorts of distractions about the booklet etc. so why are you there writing at all?
In reply to an earlier post on 30 Mar 2011 02:26:35 BDT
And your Amazon contributions are better? I think not...
In reply to an earlier post on 30 Mar 2011 05:28:52 BDT
Judy Spotheim says:
Being the other face or partner of this Kicek&Brys (US-UK) - your comment about "contribution" is zero plus zero. So, Rich Diaz, the "wandering minstrel", show us what reviews are there in your name and let us judge your contribution...Oh, you don't have any contributions...?
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