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Karita Live in Helsinki

5 customer reviews

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Audio CD, January 23, 2001
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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Any doubts that Finnish singer Karita Mattila--fresh from her triumph in the Met's new production of Fidelio in the 2000-2001 season--has moved from the top ranks of today's sopranos into the rarefied aura of full-fledged diva status are dispelled by this remarkable disc capturing her in full flight at a concert in Helsinki. She opens with an ecstatic "Dich teure Halle" from Tannhäuser, follows with a sinuous Dvorák "Song to the Moon" from Rusalka, moves on to satisfying Verdi and Puccini arias, then launches into three delectable arias from Strauss's Die Fledermaus, in which she perfectly portrays three characters of wildly different voice types: Orlofsky, Adele, and Rosalinde. As if that wasn't enough, Mattila then lavishes her gorgeous soprano on a group of Finnish songs, does a convincing version of a Marlene Dietrich classic, and finishes with an idiomatic "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend" and a bluesy "Summertime." It's hard to think of another soprano who could tackle a program this varied or sing it as well. Throughout, Mattila beautifully characterizes each piece and sounds as if she's having a great time. So are we. --Dan Davis

1. Tannhauser: I Greet You, Dear Hall
2. Rusalka: Song To The Moon
3. Aida: Return, Victorious!
4. La Forza Del Destino: Peace, Grant Me Peace O Lord
5. Tosca: I Have Lived For Art
6. Die Fledermaus: I Like To Invite Guests
7. Die Fledermaus: My Dear Marquis
8. Die Fledermaus: Sounds Of My Homeland
9. The Tryst
10. You Thought I Was Watching You
11. Why I Sing
12. I Still Have A Suitcase In Berlin - Finnish RSO/Jukka-Pekka Saraste
13. Falling In Love Again
14. Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend
15. Porgy And Bess: Summertime (Encore) - Karita Mattila/Peter Lerche

Product Details

  • Audio CD (January 23, 2001)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Ondine
  • ASIN: B000053SLK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #361,513 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Peter Nyman on December 2, 2000
Format: Audio CD
A friend of mine sent this CD for me, and I was stunned. There are great Verdi singers in the world after all! The opera arias are all outstanding, packed with emotion, sung in resplendent tone and perfect technique (portamento, legato line, strong chest voice). My favourites on this disc are hauntingly beautiful Rusalka's aria, "Pace, pace, mio Dio" from Forza, and Elisabeth's greeting from Tannhäuser. Operetta pieces are wonderful. I don't care that much about the lighter department, but she certainly shows her versatility. Marlene Dietrich song (from Blue Angel) is more succesful than the Marilyn one.
This is a must have for every opera lover! IMO she is the most exciting opera personality in the world today. BTW - the CD program in here looks strange, my copy does not include Elsa's dream (I wish it would) or Edith Piaf song. I became a fan of her after seeing her as Manon Lescaut (I wish she would record "Sola, perduta, abbandonata" someday).
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 27, 2000
Format: Audio CD
The CD is a live recording from a concert Karita Mattila gave here in Helsinki. I did not get a ticket, but listened the concert on the radio (Mattila is accompanied by Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra). She was almost tireless, singing for over three hours (no guest artists).
The programme was interesting. I would love to hear Mattila as Elisabeth, Leonora or Aida, because she sings their arias beautifully. Her lyric but strong voice suits Verdi and "lighter Wagner" very well, I think. Vissi d'arte was also very good; Tosca would be a perfect role for a diva like Mattila. She sang Musetta's waltz in the concert, but it has not found it's way on the recording. The Fledermaus arias show the artist's versatility and make it clear that Mattila likes to sing operetta.
Mattila is generally better suited to opera than lied, but in Finnish music she is excellent - my personal favorite is "Flickan kom ifrån sing älsklings möte" by Sibelius. The "lighter" music is not that successfull, and I wonder why trained opera singers are so enthusiastic in performing and recording music that obviously does not fit their voices. Mattila imitated Marlene Dietrich and Marilyn in the concert, which was quite fun, but not to my liking. In addition, Mattila's encore was "Summertime" (included in the recording), a song she obviously likes very much, but sings less successfully. I think she should stick to classical music.
In summary, I recommend this recital for the opera arias and the finnish songs.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Akimon Azuki on September 26, 2005
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Karita Mattila has more vocal brilliance & stamina and dramatic spunk than just about any other soprano singing today and I first became aware of that when listening to this collection.
Her technique is perfect, and she has lungs of steel- not that she cannot drop the opera hat in a second and adopt a cabaret persona, as aptly demonstrated here.
That she is drop dead gorgeous, and a great actress, doesn't hurt either, but this is an audio CD and opera recital first, and she has the goods, in spades, when it comes to hardcore opera repertoire.
And what a selection it is- soaring Wagner, full blooded Verdi, fantastic Tosca, a beautiful, lyrical Song to the Moon, the three heroines from Fliedermaus- each different and absolutely spot on- plus Finnish songs and some old fashion diva selections- Marilyn Monroe's and Marlene Dietrich's songs, and for finish, Summertime. This list is as crazy as it gets, and yet somehow everything works- and how! The word sparkling is often to use to describe singing of fluffy coloratura sopranos, but that would apply- there's a sort of electrical buzz that Mattila creates: every song is exciting, utterly absorbing. This is a recording of one fully-fledged diva in a great live performance.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By cherubino on March 13, 2006
Format: Audio CD
On the whole, this is an enjoyable live recital. Mattila opens with a very plugged-in, alive delivery of the Hall of Song aria from Tannhauser. I hope she records this in the studio, if she has not already done so.

Unfortunately, though her best roles include Amelia from Simon Boccanegra, she doesn't excel in the arias from Aida and La Forza. Ritorna Vincitor fares the worst. Her pacing is schizophrenic, her pronunciation of the vowels rather odd. Instead of choosing such a "heroic" Verdi aria, she should have turned to something more lyrical. Something from Un Ballo in Maschera, perhaps?

Pace, Pace Mio Dio fares better, though marginally. Mattila makes the most out of the lyrics, drawing much from the text, even better than some revered artists from the fifties and sixties. Her urgent singing of "fatalita" will rankle the purists. I, for one, welcome something more than mindless floating and note-spinning, a la Zinka Milanov. Karita's ability to draw even more from the text than native speakers reminds me of Edita Gruberova. However, like Gruberova, such passioned delivery comes at the expense of some covered notes and laborious approach.

Things improve dramatically with the three arias from Die Fledermaus. Most enchanting is Mein Herr Marquis. Mattila proves herself to be a ravishing coquette in this delicious interpretation. She even makes an honest-to-goodness stab at the coloratura, acquitting herself quite well, given that she is a lyric soprano.

Of the Finnish songs, the first one, The Tryst, is the best. Then, near the end, we are treated to some lighter fare. Her hommage to two other blonde sirens, Dietrich and Monroe, is spot-on. Falling in Love is my favorite of the two, with Mattila showing off a very convincing lower register.

Now, I couldn't get through Summertime with the guitar accompaniment. Still, there are enough tasty morsels in this recital to whet the appetite.
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