My first reaction on listening to this disc was one of genuine appreciation for such a steady, secure, even voice, essentially beautiful and mellow in production and capable of tackling these wondrous songs in their original key even though it is a genuine mezzo-soprano with a light, vibrant but tonally dark centre. However, contrary to a previous reviewer, I did not find Graham's voice to be especially large or resonant in the challenging space of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and I wonder if that is why the balance here is slightly too tipped towards her rather than being equally balanced with the orchestra; hence some instrumental detail is slightly recessed or obscured.
I have previously admired John Nelson's Berlioz but here he seems slightly restrained to match the classical poise and understatement of his elegant singer; hence there is little especially striking in these performances beyond a generalised loveliness. No song is particularly differentiated from another and to be honest, I found my attention wandering when usually I am riveted by these most engaging of melodies.
The rest of the programme is of plums from Berlioz's operas and dramatic cantatas. Graham sings in impeccable French and seems wholly at home in the idiom. However, in the last analysis, I do not find that she has the capacity to capture the special magic I hear in versions by Janet Baker or Frederica Von Stade.