"KARITA MATTILA LIVE IN HELSINKI"
WAGNER:  "Dich teure Halle" from Tannh”user; DVORÁK:  "Song to the Moon" from Rusalka; VERDI:  "Ritorna Vincitor" from Aida, "Pace, pace mio Dio" from La forza del destino;  PUCCINI:  "Vissi d'arte" from Tosca;  J. STRAUSS:  "Ich lade gern mir G”ste ein," "Mein Herr Merquis," and "Kl”nge der Heimat" from Die Fledermaus;  SIBELIUS:  Flickan kom ifr”n sin ”lsklings m–te;  MERIKANTO: Miksi laulan; SIEGEL:  Ich hab'noch einen Koffer in Berlin; HOLLÄNDER:  Ich bin von Kopf bis Fuss auf Liebe eingestellt;  STYLE:  Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend;  GERSHWIN:  Summertime
Karita Mattila, soprano/Finnish Radio Symphony Orch/Jukka-Pekka Saraste, cond.

ONDINE ODE 968 (F) (DDD) TT:  56:42
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Finnish soprano Karita Mattila, whose Leonore in Beethoven's Fidelio was widely praised this season at the Metropolitan, is now at the height of her career. On her 40th birthday, September 2, 2000, she gave a concert in the Helsinki Arena before an audience of more than 10,000 "as a gift" for her fans and admirers.  Selections from this outdoor concert are heard on this new CD.

Mattila became known by winning the Cardiff Singer of the World Competition in 1983.  Her range and power permit her to sing a wide variety of roles ranging from Mozart through Puccini, Verdi, Strauss and Wagner.  Her recordings of Mozart (Don Giovanni, Cosi fan tutte, Marriage of Figaro) and Weber's Der Freischutz  are on Philips.  Unusual repertory figures in her discography:  Schubert's Fierrabras, Hindemith's Das Marienleben, Schumann's Das Paradies und der Peri  as well as music of Finnish composers.  Her Strauss Four Last Songs with Claudio Abbado and the Berlin Philharmonic is disappointing, but her 1993 Abbado/Berlin recording of the same composer's Drei Hymnen, Op. 71 is outstanding (Sony SK 53975). 

Her voice is rich, focused and secure on this live recording; the live acoustics of the arena perhaps flatter her voice.  There is no sense whatever of strain, the top is free and full.  Arias from Rusalka, Aida, La forza del destino and Tosca are beautifully sung, as are the songs of Sibelius, Madetoja and Merikanto.  In a failed attempt to show she can sing anything she assays the three leading soprano roles from Fledermaus, successful as Orlovsky and Rosalinde, but Adele's aria surely is not for her, with approximated coloratura.  She seems to be enjoying herself with "Falling in Love Again" and "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend,"  and there is a truncated Summertime as an encore.

Those interested in the contemporary opera scene surely will wish to investigate this fine disc. No texts, limited program notes in three languages.

R.E.B.