Review of Galina Gorchakova Italian Opera Arias

Galina Gorchakova "has one of the most beautiful voices of her generation." And The London Sunday Times adds: She has "one of the most important dramatic soprano voices in the postwar era."

Of her Verdi, The Guardian writes: "You have to go back 20 or 30 years, to Leontyne Price and Renata Tebaldi, to hear anything comparable."

And the Russian soprano's latest solo CD, her debut recording on the Delos International label (DE 3286), supports these superlative declarations. It is a choice collection of arias from the operas that make up the Italian half of her repertoire, which she built up as she was conquering hearts and minds with her stellar Russian roles.

Italian opera has been a staple of Ms. Gorchakova's repertoire since the beginning of her extraordinary career. The preponderance of arias from the operas of Puccini on this CD underscores the much-acclaimed Russian soprano's special affinity for the heroines of Puccini - women who tend "to take their fate in their own hands." Thus it is not surprising that Madama Butterfly (the vehicle for both her US debut in 1994 and her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 1995) and Tosca (which she first sang at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden some 10 years ago and most recently at the San Diego Opera) have become her signature roles in the Italian repertoire. Her chosen Verdi heroines are likewise strong-willed women: Aida, Leonora (La Forza del destino) - both of which are represented on this CD - and Elisabeth de Valois (Don Carlo). In 2003, she expands her Italian repertoire into bel canto when she sings Bellini's Norma at the San Diego Opera for the first time ever.

The CD reveals a distinctive lirico spinto* soprano - rich, voluptuous and powerful. On record as she does on stage, Galina Gorchakova sings - from the depths of her Russian soul with spontaneity, great musicality and expressivity, infusing the characters of her Italian heroines with genuine pathos.

But let the music speak for itself.... Listen to clips from from some of the arias, and let the celebrated Russian soprano tug at your heartstrings.

 

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