Overly Dramatic Interpretations

Karita Mattila forces her way through the material collected here.

Composer: Dvorˇák, Duparc, Rachmaninov, Saariaho
Repertoire: Helsinki Recital
Artists: Karita Mattila (soprano), Martin Katz (piano)
Rating: 2/5

Genre: Vocal
Label: Ondine ODE 1100- 5

With her powerful voice and dramatic intensity, Finnish soprano Karita Mattila is undoubtedly one of the greatest opera singers of the moment. Recitals are different from opera however, and in this live recording from Helsinki she doesn’t quite manage to scale her gifts down to suit these intimate songs. She forces her sound into a wide vibrato in the songs by Duparc, and approaches Rachmaninov and Dvorˇák with almost military beefiness. The disc includes the premiere recording of Quatre instants (2003) by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho. Although Mattila throws herself at them with gusto she doesn’t stop Saariaho’s overblown hysteria from sounding like plinky-plonk parody.