"OPERA GALA" VERDI: Overtures to
La forza del destino /
Luisa Miller. BELLINI: "Casta Diva" and "Guerra, guerra" from
DONIZETTI: "Al dolce guidami" from Anna Bolena. R. STRAUSS:
"Zweite Brautnacht" from The Egyptian Helen. BARBER:
"Give Me My Robe" from
Anthony and Cleopatra. PUCCINI: Preludio sinfonico / "Vissi d'arte"
from Tosca / "In questa reggia" from Turandot.
This is a rather odd program of operatic music, with soprano Alessandra Marc's performances interspersed with orchestral works of Verdi and Puccini in a rather incongruous fashion. Ms. Marc has been singing major dramatic soprano roles for almost a decade including Elektra, Salome, Norma and Turandot. I found her overtaxed in the title role in DG's recording of Elektra conducted by Giuseppe Sinopoli. CD notes say Marc has recorded both leading roles in the latter, but I don't know of her recording of Chrysothemis. According to the information provided, Marc has a website (www.alessandramarc.com). When I tried to visit to get more information, I found the site "under construction."
The focus here is primarily on Marc, who is in rather good form throughout. Her voice is opulent and voluminous without the wobble that plagues so many of today's sopranos. Barber's "Give Me My Robe" was composed with Leontyne Price's voice in mind. Marc is very comfortable in this music and approaches Price's mastery of this role as well as her beauty of sound. "Casta Diva" is adequate, but why no cabaletta? "Vissi d'arte" is sung with glottal sliding up to the notes, the same as heard on Ms. Marc's first recording of the aria issued in 1992 on Delos (CD 3108). The demanding Act II opening aria from The Egyptian Helen is sung with a generous outpouring of sound, but the climax, beginning with the high "C" takes an extra breath and the "D" after the "C" is skimmed over. Leonie Rysanek remains supreme in this, followed by Leontyne Price -- and if you enjoy this music you must hear Rose Pauly's 1928 recording just released on Preiser.
The Dallas Symphony is fine and its Chorus handles its two brief assignments well. Sound is typical of that achieved by Delos' engineers in the resonant Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas capturing very effectively the rich acoustics of the site. Complete texts are provided.
R.E.B. (June 2000)