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Joyce DiDonato, Edoardo Müller, Orchestra e Coro dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia - Rossini: Colbran, the Muse (2009)

Posted By: ArlegZ
Joyce DiDonato, Edoardo Müller, Orchestra e Coro dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia - Rossini: Colbran, the Muse (2009)

Joyce DiDonato, Edoardo Müller, Orchestra e Coro dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia - Rossini: Colbran, the Muse (2009)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 278 Mb | Total time: 72:05 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Virgin Classics | # 94579 | Recorded: 1998

Joyce DiDonato becomes more interesting and more of a complete artist with each performance and recording. Even though we are living in a time of great coloratura mezzos (Bartoli, Genaux), DiDonato still stands out. A video of her Dejanira in Handel's Hercules a few years ago alerted us to the fact that she wasn't just another pretty Rosina and Cenerentola; indeed, she had fine dramatic chops as well. Well, while she remains the Rosina and Cenerentola of choice, with this CD she seems poised to enter the dramatic-Rossini-role sweepstakes as well, heretofore the property of Gencer, Caballé, Sutherland, and in one case, Callas.
Nobody knows precisely what Rossini's mistress-and-then-wife Isabella Colbran, the prima donna of Naples during his stay there, actually sounded like. As Philip Gossett concisely–and, as always, wisely–tells us in the booklet accompanying this CD, contemporary reviews were sometimes quite damning. He suggests that her voice darkened after an initial stint as a soprano, and with even more perception notes that Rossini rarely wrote any very difficult music for her at the start of an opera–she clearly needed time to warm up. Did her vocal decline begin with her association with Rossini? We do know that she excelled in dramatic roles, but it is hard to believe that Rossini would compose music as treacherously florid and difficult for a singer who was there to showcase his work, let alone one he loved, if she couldn't handle it. She must have been something.
What's so remarkable here are the dramatic, introspective, and dark moments. The final scene from Armida that closes the CD is a vengeance scene–exclamatory, florid, quite mad, in fact–and DiDonato catches every crazy, tragic nuance and holds her own against a weird, chromatic chorus at its end. At the other end of the spectrum we hear a gentle, deeply felt "Giusto ciel" from Maometto II, sung at a whisper and with perfect legato, and a hypnotically pastoral "Oh mattutini albori" from La donna del lago, with every sweet trill in place, and a "Willow Song" from Otello that is as sad as it is naturally sung. Her diction is faultless.
There is only a moment or two in the recital where you might actually want a soprano timbre–in "Bel raggio" from Semiramide and "D'amor al dolce impero" from Armida. The former needs a certain regal quality that the darker sound of a mezzo lacks and the latter sits a bit high. That said, DiDonato actually embellishes the latter, adding notes where there is barely any room for more–and it works. Oh yes–her "Tanti affetti" may be the best I've ever heard, including Horne's.
Edoardo Müller's conducting is splendid and the Rome orchestra's playing is equally so; the superb Lawrence Brownlee adds a few tenor lines here and there.
–Robert Levine


Performer:
Joyce DiDonato, mezzo-soprano
Lawrence Brownlee, tenor (10)
Orchestra e Coro dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia - Roma
Edoardo Müller, conductor

Tracklist:
Gioacchino Rossini (1792-1868)
01. Armida: Tema con Variazioni del Finale Secundo "D'Amor al dolce impero" (Armida, Coro)
02. La donna del lago: Dell'Introduzione "Oh mattutini albori" (Elena)
03. La donna del lago: Rondo finale "Tanti affetti in tal momento" (Elena, Coro)
04. La donna del lago: "Fra il padre, e fra l'amante" (Elena, Coro)
05. Maometto II: Del terzettone "Giusto ciel, in tal periglio" (Anna, Coro)
06. Elisabetta, Regina d'Inghilterra: Cavatina "Qant'è grato all'alma mia" (Elisabetta)
07. Semiramide: Coro di Donne "Serena i vaghi rai…." (Coro)
08. Semiramide: Cavatina "Bel raggio lusinghier di speme" (Semiramide, Coro)
09. Otello: Recitativo "Ah! Dagli affanni oppressa" (Desdemona, Emilia)
10. Otello: Canzone del Gondoliere "Nessun maggior dolore" (Il Gondoliere)
11. Otello: Recitativo "O come infino al core" (Desdemona, Emilia)
12. Otello: Canzone del Salice "Assisa appiè d'un salice" (Desdemona, Emilia)
13. Otello: Preghiera"Deh calma, o ciel, nel sonno" (Desdemona)
14. Armida: Finale Terzo "Se al mio crudel tormento" (Armida, Rinaldo, Ubaldo, Carlo)
15. Armida: "Dove son io? … Fuggi" (Armida)
16. Armida: "È ver…. gode quest'anima" (Armida, Coro)


Exact Audio Copy V1.6 from 23. October 2020

EAC extraction logfile from 30. September 2023, 19:53

Joyce DiDonato, Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia & Edoardo Müller / Rossini: Colbran, the Muse

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Filename D:\ArlegZ\Rossini - Colbran, the Muse - Joyce DiDonato.wav

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Joyce DiDonato, Edoardo Müller, Orchestra e Coro dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia - Rossini: Colbran, the Muse (2009)