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Nicole Cabell - Soprano CD

4.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Audio CD, CD, May 8, 2007
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

28 year old American soprano Nicole Cabell came to the attention of the opera world overnight when, in June 2005, she won what has become the most important competition for young opera singers and was crowned BBC Cardiff Singer Of The World. The competition jury included legendary singers Dame Joan Sutherland and Marilyn Horne and the win placed Nicole Cabell in a distinguished line of Cardiff prize-winners that includes Karita Mattila, Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Bryn Terfel.

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Nicole Cabell, the winner of the 2005 Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, is a full-voiced lyric soprano with ease of production, a free top, and a basically lovely sound. This ambitious recital – we get chestnuts (Musetta's Waltz, "O mio babbino caro," "Je veux vivre," "Summertime," etc) as well as rarities (the selections from The Old Maid and the Thief and Tippett's A Child of our Time as well as Teresa's big aria from Benvenuto Cellini) – shows a curious mind and versatility. On the technical side, her prominent vibrato occasionally sounds like the start of a beat in the voice that could cause trouble, and her diction can be mushy. In addition, as of now, Cabell isn't much of an interpreter. "Les filles de Cadix" exhibits a strange lack of either Latin flavor or flirtatiousness; Musetta's Waltz is straightforward and lacks an individual stamp. On the plus side, as mentioned, the sound of her voice itself is very appealing. "Depuis le jour" and Doretta's Dream (from Rondine) are beautifully floated, even if they don't erase memories of Price, Fleming, or several other singers. The Menotti aria is well-articulated and makes its point. Conversely, "O mio babbino caro" is simply boring, lacking in girlish charm. "Summertime" is deliciously sung, and Norina's aria from Don Pasquale has plenty of flavor. It will be interesting to see how she develops; at the moment some troublesome traits are mixed in with great promise. Sir Andrew Davis lends fine support. --Robert Levine
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 8, 2007)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Decca
  • ASIN: B000M9BTP4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #207,320 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Santa Fe Listener HALL OF FAME on May 8, 2007
Format: Audio CD
As the product description says above, Ms. Cabell is a young American soprano who won the prestigious Cardiff Singer of the World competition in 2005. Despite the inflated title, a great deal is expected from such winners, and she has the goods: a sparkling soprano capable of coloratura but with body and above all personality. I'd compaer her to a young Gheorgiu or Netrenbko, perhaps lighter than both. Her voice makes you listen and often smile.

When Cabell sings the big aria from Menotti's The Old Maid and the Theif ("What a curse for a woman is a timid man"), she crosses swords with Dawn UPshaw, who made a spectacular show of it. This version is fuller voiced but less sharp dramatically. In fact there are quite a few places where Cabell phrases a bit stiffly and misses dramatic changes of tone. She's concentrating on getting the music to come out beautifully, and it does.

She also wants to display versatility, and that comes across in a program that's all over the place, from Tippett and Menotti to Puccini and Delibes, with quite a few more thrown in. The evergreen "O mio babbino caro" isn't charming enough to convey the tone of a pampered daddy's girl or her lovesick yearning, but Cabell doesn't short change us on loveliness. Black sopranos were always expected to do "Summertime" decades ago, and Cabell isn't embarrassed to offer us a gorgeous version of her own, complete with accent.

The languages she attempts are English, French and Italian. She's most passionate and fervent in English, which is unusual. Her Italian sounds a little stiff; it doesn't let go as it should. As with Beverly Sills, French vowels seem to liberate her, however, and Cabell floats gloriously in "Depuis le jour." It's not overwhelming the way Te Kanawa, Leontyne Price, and Renee Fleming are in the same aria, but at the age of 28 Cabell has a voice as captivating to the ear as anyone. One hopes for great things to come.
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Nicole Cabell is an emerging soprano. This is her debut CD. She recently won the main prize in the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition. My own sense is that she shows great promise, and this debut disc demonstrates that. However, she is not yet a polished performer. But one would expect that to come with time and experience.

Some examples of her work:

"Quando me n'vo," from Puccini's "La Boheme": Cabell demonstrates a rich voice, no question about it. She sings the notes well, but not much characterization of Musetta emerges. Given that she's early in her career, this is hardly surprising. It would be interesting to hear her version of this five years from now.

"Ah! Je veux vivre" from Gounod's "Romeo et Juliette": An infectious aria. She provides a spirited version. Although this is a bit raw at places, this is an animated presentation.

"Les filles de Cadix" by Leo Delibes: Another up tempo and infectious piece. Again, Cabell shows off a rich voice. This is enjoyable to listen to and assess her promise for the future.

"Quel guard il cavaliere. . . So anch'io la virtu magica": The cantabile is sung nicely. She demonstrates no vocal affectations that can often mar a singer's work. The cabaletta? She shows vocal agility, and she takes this at a spirited pace. There is not a great deal of ornamentation in the cabaletta. However, she produces one decent trill. Her final note is rather tamely sung.

This CD shows a young soprano of considerable promise. The challenge is for this promise to turn into the ultimate polished performance that is inherent in this disc. A singer whose career will be well worth following.
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I think this recording has some very nice moments. However, there are just as many not so great moments in here as well. Cabell's voice is a very beautiful instrument. Few posses that beautiful tone. However, there just seems to be a lack of polish to the sound. I realize she is young and that she has the potential to grow into some things. For example, the dynamic level throughout the disk seems to be stagnant. She does a few things here and there but overall, she seems to sing at the same level through many of the arias. Sadly, at times, that volume seems push or uncomfortable. The program she selected for this disk is varied. I applaud the inclusion of the lesser known works like the Menotti and Tippett. She also includes the standard soprano fare such as "O mio babbino." These standard numbers come off less interesting as their lesser recorded counterparts. Overall, this is a voice worth hearing. I hope this is just the beginning for her and that she continues to improve and record.
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An excellent compilation of operatic arias by one of the best lyric sopranos today. Just recently I heard her in a live performance of Bach's ST. MATTHEW PASSION, which was outstanding. Her oratorio work is superb. Any chance that she might record an album of sacred oratorio pieces?
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Last month we had the opportunity to hear a singer we had never heard before, soprano Nicole Cabell, performing the role of Clara, in Gershwin's "Porgy & Bess," and we were impressed with her sound. Now comes a new, pricey ($32.99) recording under the DECCA label featuring Ms. Cabell in a debut album (due in May, 07) under her own name. The price of this CD is high, but the singer comes highly recommended, having won the BBCs Cardiff Singer of the World Competition in 2005, listing credits and reviews worthy of a talent in clear ascendancy - which she obviously is. For this debut CD she chooses some of what she likes best. "I wanted to sing not simply pieces that I love," she is quoted in her acknowledgement, "but the music that I believe fits my voice." A lyric soprano with punch, Ms. Cabell, glides effortlessly through a series of well known arias in English, French and Italian, culling some of the best from composers such as Puccini, Gounard, Gershwin, Bellini, Donizetti. With superb accompaniment from Maestro Davis and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Ms. Cabell gives a strong accounting of herself and leaves no doubt that no matter how many times one hears "O mio babbino caro," (Gianni Schicchi) or "Quando m'en vo," (La boheme) which she will be performing in concert this month with Anna Netrebko and Rolando Villazon, there's still room for hearing and enjoying it anew from a different voice with a slightly different interpretation. Everything one reads about this voice is true: smooth legato, florid passages and delightful coloratura - and we might add with this debut CD, a nice selection of music that will satisfy most tastes with its even thematic presentation. Our personal favorite? Charpentier's soulful "Depuis le jour où je me suis donnée (Louise), but then, there are many favorites on this CD. This review appeared at OperaOnline.us.
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