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Positively Golden: Coloratura Arias

4.3 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 16, 1994
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Product Details

  • Orchestra: London Philharmonic
  • Conductor: Nicola Rescigno
  • Composer: Gaetano Donizetti, Giacomo Meyerbeer, Vincenzo Bellini, Charles Gounod
  • Audio CD (August 16, 1994)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Angel Records/EMI Classics
  • ASIN: B000002RTG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,829 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on October 27, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Ruth Ann Swenson possesses one of the most beautiful voices that you will ever hear. Close your eyes and imagine a silvery coloratura voice capable of great sweetness and purity of tone. Now imagine that sound intermingled with a rich, opulent tone color like spun gold. That's Swenson!
This disc shows her off at her best. She handles the fleet passagework and tricky cadenzas of "Ombre legere" with graceful ease. "Adieu, mon doux rivage" is sung with gleaming tone and a moving sense of longing. Swenson is an impeccable singer and she brings emotional involvement into everything that she does. A truly remarkable singer. Don't miss her in this beautiful bel canto repertoire, a perfect showcase for her immaculate voice.
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Words cannot begin to describe how I feel about Ruth Ann Swenson, but I'll try. Imagine listening to a voice so beautiful, so honest and clear, in the most staggeringly beautiful arias of bel canto and French grand opera. Listening to Swenson, you never have any doubt that she won't pull it off, or that she's struggling (like Callas, for example). In each aria, she radiates pure joy, sensuality, thoughtfulness, longing, and despair, depending on what mood the aria requires. Her voice is rich and creamy, with a wonderful vibrato and glorious high notes. Each aria is truly special, but for me, the hightlights are "Qui la voce" from I Puritani and "O beau pays de la Touraine" from Les Huguenots. If you are a new fan of opera, and want to get to know some new singers, or if you are familiar with this repertoire, but are tired of Callas and Sutherland, then I could not reccomend any other CD in the world more highly than this one. We love you, Ruth Ann!
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Ruth Ann Swenson takes on some standard coloratura roles from Bellini and Donizetti and then some examplars from the French repertoire (Gounod and Meyerbeer). In this CD, we see a number of examples of the standard technique of Bellini and Donizetti, with a cabaletta following a slower work. As the Wikipedia puts it: The cabaletta is a "form of aria within 19th century Italian opera. It usually refers specifically to the second half of a double aria: a faster or more rhythmic movement following a cantabile section. . . . Classic examples include "Vien diletto, è in ciel la luna" from I Puritani by Bellini (1835). . . ."

Some samples of her style from this CD. In Donizetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor," we are treated to Swenson's version of "Regnava nel silenzio. . .Quanto rapito in estasi." Hers is a somewhat darker, heavier voice than that of Dessay or Sills (more similar to Netrebko and Callas in that regard). Still the voice is agile; her trill technique is adequate but not noteworthy. In the cabaletta, she shows agility and her florid technique is fine. She is able to hit the higher notes well. In the repeat of "Quanto rapito in estasi," she is fine, but not at the level of top coloraturas such as Dessay or Sills or Sutherland.

Bellini's "I Puritani" features the standard cantabile-cabaletta structure as per the Wikipedia's description above, "Qui la voce. . .Vien, diletto." Classic coloratura territory. In the first part, she shows a nice smoothly sung line. In the cabaletta, she hits the high notes cleanly, Her florid technique is fine but not exciting. Her trills are adequate but not wonderful. In the repeat, her ornamentation moves up a jot. All in all, a competently done--but not exciting--version.
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By A Customer on June 7, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I first heard Ruth Ann Swenson when she was in the Merola Opera Program at SFO, saw and heard her on several occasions that year and have followed her career with interest since then. This album showcases the beauty and perfection of Miss Swenson's voice, and immediately became one of my most favorite coloratura soprano arias recordings.
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By A Customer on March 14, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Ruth Ann Swenson is one of the finest coloratura sopranos singing today. Her voice is a seamless, pearly-timbred instrument; her technique is rock-solid. In her first solo CD (recorded in 1993) Swenson concentrates on the bel canto repertory and gives us some of the most assured singing in this since Joan Sutherland. My favorite track is the Act I aria from LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR, in which Swenson conveys Lucia's horror in a stream of eerily pure tone, which then sparkles in the cabaletta, "Quando, rapito in estasi." In both beauty of sound and coloratura virtuosity, Swenson is a very worthy successor to Sutherland and Montserrat Caballe. "Positively Golden" is, so far, my favorite coloratura recital next to Sutherland's "The Art of the Prima Donna."
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