JANE EAGLEN - Italian Operatic Arias
PUCCINI: "Un bel di, vedremo," "Che tua madre" and "Tu, tu, piccolo iddio!" (Madama Butterfly).  "Senza mamma, o bimbo, tu sei morto" (Suor Angelica).  "Addio, addio, mio dolce amor" (Edgar).  CATALANI:  "Ebben? ne andr˜ lontana"  (La Wally).  PONCHIELLI:   "Suicidio!" from La Gioconda.  MASCAGNI:  "Voi lo sapete, o mamma" and "Regina Coeli, laetare" (Cavalleria rusticana).  CILEA:  "Poveri fiori" and "Io son l'umile ancella" (Adriana Lecouvreur).  BOITO:  "L'altra notte in fondo al mare" (Mefistofele).
Jane Eaglen, soprano/Royal Opera Chorus, Covent Garden/Philharmonia Orch/Carlo Rizzi, cond.

SONY CLASSICAL SK 89443 (F) (DDD) TT:  60:14

This is Jane Eaglen's fourth Sony Classical CD.  Her first was devoted to Bellini and Wagner, her second to Mozart and Strauss, the third to Wagner and Berg as well as Strauss's Four Last Songs (see REVIEW).  Now we have this collection of Italian opera arias recorded in September 2000.  CD notes by Benjamin Folkman tell us how wonderful Ms. Eaglen is in this repertory, and to some extent he is correct, although I don't hear a "deceptive girlishness" in "Un bel di," or a "variety of colors" in "Suicidio."  However, Eaglen is in fine vocal form without the tendency to sing a bit under pitch displayed on her last recording.  What we have is a big, bold, secure sound impressive for what it is although there is little characterization -- everything sounds pretty much the same.  She manages a trill, although somewhat tenuous, in "L'altra notte," rather difficult indeed for a soprano who specializes in the heaviest Wagnerian roles. The Royal Opera Chorus of Covent Garden sings for forty seconds in the Edgar excerpt, more extensively in the Cavalleria Hymn. Sony's sound is fine with the soprano placed rather backward and complete texts are provide -- although the text for "In questa reggia" omits Calaf's "No, no! Gli enigmi sono tre, una è la vita!" which is sung (except for "No, no!) by Ms. Eaglen.  For a full-price CD, playing time of just one hour isn't much.

R.E.B. (Sept. 2001)