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This review is from: Midsummer Night (Audio CD)
I stumbled across a video promotion of this album on the internet. Never having heard of Kate Royal, I was more intrigued by the repertory than anything else. The visuals on the promotional piece were bizarre and off-putting, but the vocal presence of the singer kept me glued to the screen for the full twelve minutes,and I promptly ordered the disc. I have not been so electrified by a vocal presence since I witnessed the young Anna Moffo seize the stage of a very thread-bare Met touring production of "Faust" in the spring of 1960.
Although Royal's delivery is sometimes reminiscent of Moffo's secret way of inflecting and coloring a phrase, she has more of a dramatic flare. Although I will treasure every single cut on this disc, the Britten arias are most revelatory, especially the "Peter Grimes" excerpt, which must surely derived from a fully studied performance, so deep is the characterization drawn in just a few minutes. One can only hope that Royal will get her wish to perform (and record) Alwyn's "Miss Julie." Strindberg (and particularly this play) has always given me the willies, but I would purchase Royal's recording or dash to her performance in a heart-beat.
Her "Russalka" aria has not displaced Dorothy Maynor's luminous recording or or the burnished gold of Zinka Milhanov's very late performance in my affections, but I get the sense it will grow on me. The Korngold "Marietta's Lied" is magical, the Hermann "Wuthering Heights" hopefully the prelude to a new recording of that neglected work. Hearing Royal's treatment of Floyd's "Susannah" makes me hope she will turn her attention to his treatment of "Wuthering Heights. The Santa Fe Opera, which I believe commissioned it would be a likely place to revive it.
I could go on and on, but don't listen to me. Buy the recording and hear for yourself!