Wednesday, 23 August 2017

CD Review (The Straits Times, August 2017)

with ORF Radio Sinfonieorchester
Cornelius Meister (Conductor)
Decca 478 8305 / *****

The soprano Aida Garifullina, from Kazan in the Russian republic of Tatarstan, came to prominence after winning Placido Domingo's competition Operalia in 2013 and appearing as coloratura soprano Lily Pons in the 2016 movie Florence Foster Jenkins starring opposite Meryl Streep. 

Her debut recording opens with two coloratura favourites, Gounod's Ah! Je jeux vivre (Romeo et Juliette) and Delibes' Bell Song (Lakmé), which showcases an impressive range and vocal agility for a lyric soprano. The balance of her hour-long programme features Russian songs, including arias from Rimsky-Korsakov's Sadko (Song of India), The Golden Cockerel (Hymn to the Sun and Seduction Aria), The Snow Maiden and Tchaikovsky's Mazeppa (Maria's Lullaby).

She is totally at home in her native language, bringing out every ounce of feeling and nuance, The clarity and beauty of her voice are further highlighted in Russian romances by Rachmaninov (Lilacs, How Beautiful It Is Here and the wordless Vocalise) and Tchaikovsky's Serenade. The folksongs Allüki (in the Turkic Tatar language) and Cossack Lullaby are particularly alluring as well. 

In Solovyov-Sedoy's familiar Midnight in Moscow (also known as Moscow Nights), she is accompanied by the vintage 1962 Mercury recording of the Osipov State Russian Folk Orchestra through a clever process of overdubbing. Past and present become one in this lovely disc.

No comments: