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Midsummer Night

4.3 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Composer: Various
  • Audio CD (4 May 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: EMI Classics
  • ASIN: B001VEJF46
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 109,486 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
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Digital Booklet: Kate Royal: Midsummer Night
Digital Booklet: Kate Royal: Midsummer Night
Album Only

Product Description

Product Description

EMI 2681922; EMI ITALIANA - Italia; Classica vocale profana

BBC Review

Kate Royal's first album presented the favourite party pieces requisite for a debut recording alongside carefully chosen, more off-piste numbers which gave a taster of her repertoire knowledge. Midsummer Night takes the same philosophy and stretches it further. This time, the programme is of 20th century operatic repertoire, mixing stock favourites such as Dvorak's Song to the Moon (Rusalka) with lesser-known gems such as Messager's Rossignol (Monsieur Beaucaire). Also represented are Britten, Lehar, Barber, Herrmann, Alwyn, Korngold, Stravinsky, Floyd and Walton. The resultant disc is every bit as successful as her debut, perhaps more so.

As the album title would suggest, these are arias whose action takes place after sunset. It's all down tempo, but by no means uniform in style or mood. The inspiration came from Royal singing The Governess in Britten's The Turn of the Screw, her first major role in a 20th century opera. The 'Tower Scene' aria, How Lovely It Is, particularly struck her. She writes, 'The music got under my skin in a way I had not experienced before! I went in search of other arias that shared a similar combination of intensity and abandon'. Her performance of it here is perfect.

Dramatically, she and the orchestra capture the early evening atmosphere with its unsettling undercurrents. Vocally, her voice is so lusciously rich there is a mezzo quality to it; her diction is crystal clear, and her top register effortless, pure and true. Honeyed, with edge. Whilst this may have been the aria that got under her skin, you'd never know the others hadn't. Royal seems to have a particular gift for getting to the heart of any text, becoming the character and making it her own. Meanwhile, Edward Gardner and the Orchestra of ENO make the perfect ensemble for this repertoire. It feels as if the music is hardwired within their collective psyche. Add the vocal strengths of tenor Andrew Staples for Stravinsky's The Nightingale's Aria (The Nightingale), and baritone Thomas Allen for Britten's Embroidery Aria (Peter Grimes), and you're left with a disc to be revisited again and again. Even in the daytime. --Charlotte Gardner

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
Kate Royal has a beautiful clear tone with excellent diction and phrasing throughout this wonderful collection of songs and arias. This CD contains modern repetoire that you will not find on every other Soprano's latest release. Kate Royal's singing is effortless and she really captures the Midsummer Night mood throughout with a magical and enchanting feel to these tracks. Particular highlights for me were track 4 which is haunting and quite stunning and also tracks 12 and 13 which display Ms Royal's wonderful technique. I would recommend this CD if you are a singer looking for new repetoire ideas or simply a fan of beautiful soprano singing. Ms Royal has the whole package and as a young artist is definitely one to watch in the future! I will be first in the queue for her next release!
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Format: Audio CD
Track #14, listed here, is not included on the CD (neither EU nor US pressings). It's only available as a download.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Words really cannot express for me the joy of hearing Kate Royals singing. I first heard her in concert with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and it was love at first note! Her diction is clear and precise and her range and tone is both phenomenal and exquisite.

Its interesting to compare her against Danielle di Niese. Of course they are both very different in their sound etc. but they are both at the top of their game. Pure delight.
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By M. Joyce TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 6 Feb. 2016
Format: Audio CD
In her introductory note in the CD booklet, Kate Royal explains her inspiration for this disc, which features both well-known soprano arias and some, as she terms them, “hidden gems”. Singing the role of the Governess in Britten’s opera “The Turn of the Screw” gave her the idea of recording a recital disc featuring operatic heroines who experience a similar combination of intensity and abandon. It is, as such, a long way from the standard recital of operatic “warhorses” and, in fact, it is the least well-known works on the CD which are, perhaps, the most rewarding.

The arias all come from the twentieth century (“Rusalka” was premiered in 1901), but range over several different operatic trends.

My comments above notwithstanding, the more well-known works on this disc (Lehár’s “Vilja-Lied” and Dvo'ák’s “Song to the Moon”) certainly do not get short shrift and the recital ends with a magnificent rendition of “Mariettas Lied” from Korngold’s “Die tote Stadt”; a familiar song from an infrequently performed opera.

My pleasure in this disc has been twofold; realising what a wonderful singer Miss Royal is (her voice is breathtakingly beautiful) and discovering music I did not really know at all. Particular favourites are excerpts from Barber’s “Vanessa”, Walton’s “Troilus and Cressida” and Alwyn’s “Miss Julie”, from whence comes the aria which gives the disc its title, but works by Floyd, Messager and Herrmann are worth discovering too; in fact, there is not a single dud track on the disc.

The unfamiliarity of some of the pieces notwithstanding, all the music here is very accessible and Royal’s singing of these lovely arias is absolutely gorgeous.
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