La Scena Musicale

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Verdi and Verismo

Fabiana Bravo, soprano
St. Petersburg Radio and TV Orchestra / Charles Rosekrans
KLEOS Classics KL5149 (72 m 32 s)
**** $$$
Argentinean soprano Fabiana Bravo is that rare breed – a true spinto soprano with a dark-hued powerful instrument, strong sense of drama, and glamorous stage presence. Since winning the 5th Luciano Pavarotti Voice Competition in 1996, Bravo has made a name for herself in the Verdi and verismo repertoires. A generous artist on stage, her performances are noted for their intensity and all-out vocalism. This CD, recorded in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2006, gives the listener a good idea of her art. The disc is a generous 72 minutes long, featuring 14 arias from Don Carlo, Simon Boccanegra, Corsaro, Aïda, Forza, Mefistofele, Adriana, Wally, Tosca, Andrea Chenier, Edgar and Suor Angelica. The singing is impressive, particularly her blazing top with a genuine high pianissimo, which she uses to great effect in “La vergine degli angeli” and “Senza mamma”. The timbre and weight of her sound are ideal in the Verdi and Puccini heroines featured on the disc. For dramatic effect, Bravo is not afraid to dip into her generous chest voice. Like other big-voiced dramatic sopranos, Bravo is best seen on stage, as this type of voice isn't so easily captured on disc. The close miking exaggerates her breathing, and sometimes one can hear a slow vibrato and an overall unsteadiness. Occasionally, she telegraphs a coming high note by breaking the line to take a breath, as in “Vissi d'arte” and “O patria mia”. The St. Petersburg Radio and TV Orchestra under American conductor Charles Rosekrans does yeoman service – one wishes for more incisive and commanding leadership from the maestro. These quibbles aside, the disc is well worth a listen for those curious about the art of this exciting soprano.

- Joseph K. So

Labels: , , , , ,

Friday, November 7, 2008

Today's Birthdays in Music: November 7 (J. Sutherland, Forst)

1926 - Joan Sutherland, Sydney, Australia; opera soprano


Joan Sutherland sings:

"Come per me sereno" from Bellini's La Sonnambula (1960 recording)

 "Com'è bello" from Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia (Covent Garden, 1980)

1943 - Judith Forst, New Westminster, Canada; opera and concert mezzo-soprano

Biography (Encyclopedia of Music in Canada)

Joan Sutherland and Judith Forst sing "Dal mio cor ... Va, infelice" from Donizetti's Anna Bolena (Orchestra and Chorus of the Canadian Opera Co., conducted by Richard Bonynge; 1984 CBC video)

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Today's Birthday in Music: November 1 (de Los Angeles)

1923 - Victoria de Los Angeles, Barcelona, Spain; opera and concert soprano

Biography and pictures
Obituary (New York Times, Jan. 2005)

Victoria de Los Angeles sings:

"Una voce poco fa" from Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia (BBC telecast, 1952)

"El Canape" by José Palomino (from the Museo del Prado, Madrid, 1967)

Labels: , ,

Monday, October 13, 2008

Today's Birthday in Music: October 13 (L. Mitchell)

1949 - Leona Mitchell, Enid, Oklahoma, U.S.A.; opera soprano

African American Registry biography

Leona Mitchell sings:

"Je dis rien que rien ne m'épouvante" from Bizet's Carmen (Metropolitan Opera, 1987)

"O patria mia" from Verdi's Aida (1995)

Labels: , ,

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Today's Birthdays in Music: February 9 (Berg, Behrens)

1885 - Alban Berg, Vienna, Austria; composer (Wozzeck, Lulu)

Wiki entry
Decca Bio

Alban Berg, Wozzeck Act 1 Scenes 2 & 3 (Vienna,1987). Franz Grundheber (Wozzeck), Hildegard Behrens (Marie). Conductor: Claudio Abbado

1937 - Hildegard Behrens, Varel-Oldenburg, Germany; opera soprano

Wiki entry
Short Bio

Hildegard Behrens as Elettra in Mozart's Idomeneo

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, February 8, 2008

Today's Musician Birthdays: February 8 (Williams, Ameling)

1932 - John Williams, New York, USA; composer, conductor

Wiki entry
Mini Bio

John Williams with the London Symphony Orchestra recording the music for Stars Wars 2 Attack of the Clones

1934 - Elly Ameling, Rotterdam, Netherlands; soprano (lieder)

Wiki entry
Short Bio

Elly Ameling sings Schubert's "Der Hirt auf dem Felsen"

Labels: , , , , ,