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This repertoire of great 19th and 20th century lyric, bel canto and verismo roles fits Angela Gheorghiu like a glove
Title: ‘Homage to Maria Callas’ Angela Gheorghiu
Composer: Many of the 19th and 20th century greats including Puccini, Saint-Saëns, Verdi
Repertoire: Arias from La bohème, La Wally, La traviata and Pagliacci with bel canto gems from Bellini’s Il Pirata and Cherubini’s Medea.
Artists: Angela Gheorghiu (sop), Royal Philharmonic Orchestra/Marco Armiliato
Label: Opera EMI Classics 6315092
The Music: The great 19th and 20th century lyric, bel canto and verismo roles have been the calling-card of many a soprano, not only Callas. Modern-day diva Angela Gheorghiu’s recital combines famous arias from La bohème, La Wally, La traviata and Pagliacci with bel canto gems from Bellini’s Il Pirata and Cherubini’s Medea.
The Performance: This repertoire fits Gheorghiu like a glove; her unmistakeable dusky, tremulous middle voice rises to glorious, soaring heights. Mimì’s break-up aria ‘Donde lieta’ (La bohème), could hardly be bettered; ‘Stridono lassù’ (I Pagliacci) is full of restless longing. Her forays into mezzo territory work less well, particularly ‘Mon coeur s’ouvre à ta voix’ – Gheorghiu may have a dark sound but Dalila requires a deep, luxuriant contralto.
The Verdict: Gheorghiu hardly needs the Callas label to promote herself. Her first studio recital for years proves she’s still at the top of her game, vocally and artistically, and her big personality leaps out of the music, just as it should.
Want More? Another modern-day opera star, Jonas Kaufmann, does verismo from the tenor’s point of view (Decca, 478 2258).