Angela Gheorghiu is certainly one of the hottest names in opera today. Together with her tenor husband, Roberto Alagna, they create headlines wherever they go. The question is: does Gheorghiu live up to this hype? The answer must be an unqualified yes, and this disc certainly proves it. Gheorghiu tackles some of the most difficult, both vocally and dramatically, arias Verdi ever wrote for the soprano voice on this disc. And this is great stuff! Listen to the bolero from I vespri and you will hear wonderfully crisp coluratura, listen to Elisabetta's aria from Don Carlo and you will hear an example of text and music in perfect unison. Aida's aria comes with a high c sung dolce as Verdi wrote it. Morover, in the Aida item, hear how she colours her voice as a means of increasing textual meaning, listen to the perfect rubato touches in the second verse. Everything seams just right. This is singing that goes straight to the heart. The voice itself is incredibly beautiful. Someone has likened it to a cello handled by a master of that instrument. Almost everything is sung to perfection, which make you forget how difficult this music is to perform. The pianissimi are there, all delivered with a full body of sound. The top notes have that exhilarating ping which all opera cognoscenti love. Sample Leonora's Pace aria and you will understand what I mean. If you are not convinced yet, try Desdemona's willow song: tender and sung with melting tone but still coloured by that essential foreboding and apprehension that marks out a good fourth act Desdemona. This disc is a must have.