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Diana Damrau - Arie di Bravura (Mozart, Salieri, Righini Opera Arias) Enhanced, Import

4.6 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Performer: Diana Damrau
  • Orchestra: Le Cercle de l'Harmonie
  • Conductor: Jeremie Rhorer
  • Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Antonio Salieri, Vincenzo Righini
  • Audio CD (November 6, 2007)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Enhanced, Import
  • Label: Erato Disques
  • ASIN: B000R20VM8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #119,213 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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Diana Damrau told Opera News earlier this year that she is a lirico leggiero. This is her debut album for EMI/Virgin, she having recorded some lieder albums before this one to great success.
Diana is the rightful successor to the great Austro-German school of singing. I first got impressed by her in Colin Davies' Die Zauberfloete (Covent Garden production), in which she sang and acted an immaculate Queen of the Night.
So she rightly included those two of her earlier calling cards in this album, but I tend to agree with her that she should not be singing this role too often, nor too long (just like the case of Lucia Popp before, another great Queen of the Night). She is to assume the roles in the MET production of this opera as both mother (the Queen), and daughter (Pamina). A real challenge that not too many sopranos could meet.
Listening to her two arias, one immediately recognises an almost unpredecented clarity of expression: she throws off the technical stuff and concentrates solely on the expression, diction included. The Queen of Night never sounded more fearful than on her aria on track 6 in this album.
So I do not quite agree that Ms Damrau is 'another' promising new soprano. To me, she is the 'foremost' young soprano (born in May 1971, same year as Ms Netrebko) for the reason that she demonstrates a degree of artistry that IMHV is more mature than most sopranos of her age group. I think her chief competitor (in her agre group) in bel canto is not Ms Netrebko, but Alexandrina Pandatchanska; but Pandatchanksa is NOT a lirico leggiero and cannot assume roles like Pamina, since she owns a more mature voice.
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Damrau is really amazing on this recording. She sings four arias by Mozart, seven by Salieri, and two by Righini. The program is extremely demanding, but Damrau flies through the technical challenges of the arias with astonishing ease. Perhaps a young Gruberova or young Dessay could have rivaled Damrau's magnificent performance, but it is hard to imagine any current soprano singing the arias as well as Damrau did.

Le Cercle de l'Harmonie, a period instrument ensemble, accompanies Damrau. They have apparently tuned to the pitch of Mozart's era, which is about a quarter tone lower than standard concert pitch. Nowdays, orchestras are supposed to tune the A above middle C to 440 Hz. However, there was no standardized pitch in Mozart's day, and orchestras generally tuned lower than they do today. Over the years, concert pitch was raised in order to achieve a more brilliant sound.

Damrau displays exceptional tonal control and astounding flexibility, as well as considerable emotional connection to the arias. Her runs, scales, turns, and divisions are executed almost perfectly, and her trill is secure (albeit not as impressive as Joan Sutherland's trill, although probably no modern singer could match Sutherland's magnificent trill). In the extremely difficult Salieri arias (which are possibly even harder than Mozart's concert arias), Damrau sings with great abandon and precision during the fiendish coloratura passages. Salieri's arias frequently soar up to the F and F-sharp above high C. (Damrau even interpolates a high G during the cadenza for "Ah, lo sento".) There is a touch of shrillness during some of the highest passages, but it is hard to imagine any soprano not becoming a little shrill when dealing with such taxing tessituras.
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Here at last is a solo performance by Diana Damrau surely one of the quietest of the modern Divas.She has made her name in German Lieder and as the epitome of the Queen of the Night in the Magic Flute.Here she enhances the music of Mozart with rare and beautiful songs from his biggest threat Salieri.I had never heard his music but here is the best place to listen to the richness of his works.Damrau is at her stunning best with her voice effortlessly touching and lighting each note with a sense of crystal clear magic.We are even given her Queens songs to remind us that this is no first time soprano but a well established singer and a dynamic woman who gives us on this recording a timeless display of the music of Mozarts contempories.A feast for the ear and soul something to listen to and dream to.
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While the focus of this album, in the words of the singer herself, is to revive her personal favourite composer for the voice, Salieri; the real reason why I found this album to be a treasure has to be the discovery of a first-rate classical composer of opera by the name of Vincenzo Righini.

It is nothing short of a curious anomaly and a regretful shame in the history of opera why Righini was forgotten and unheard of in our day; as I hear the aria "Ove son? Qual'aure io spiro" from the opera Il natal d'Apollo, I could virtually envision the heavens opening and gleams of wondrous light pervading the clouds and illuminating the earth.

On first listening one might assume it to be a late aria written by Mozart - but the truth is that even Mozart himself had seldom scaled such heights of expression that is only matched in similar vein by his trio "Soave sia il vento" (similar in its undulating strings and melancholic winds) - not matched by even his most famous arias for solo voice.

It is not far-fetched to presume that the aria was written in the early 1800s from its autumnal melancholy and prescient romanticism - when it was actually written as early as in 1789 (Mozart had yet to start on his last opera while Haydn was just beginning to). While stylistically it evolved from the operatic tradition and language of Gluck (with its pristine Neo-Classicism), the harmony unmistakenably looks ahead to early-Romanticism. It is not presumptuous to presume that it was an aria Mozart would have admired himself had he heard it in his lifetime.
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