Top critical review
8 people found this helpful
Good compilation--but don't buy it new
on January 2, 2005
I am a decided Bonney fan. So it is with hesitation I give this disc only three stars (three and a half really, but I don't have that option). But, it does reflect my feelings about this cd. There are certain selections that are especially disappointing because seeing them listed on the cover was my motivation for purchasing the cd to begin with-- the rose presentation from "Rosenkavalier," for example. As far as I'm concerned, Miss Bonney is the best Sophie around today. But this recording doesn't do her justice. Her signature floating pianissimi on the high a's and b's seemed under par here. Too much gear-changing and some vibrato issues (slight, but perceptible). And I wasn't particularly thrilled with the mezzo on this recording. Perhaps I'm spoiled by seeing the Lott-Bonney-von Otter DVD (by the way, THAT'S a definite keeper, if you have the 40 dollars it costs. . . worth it!). The "Exsultate, Jubilate" was less than stellar. It seemed to me that the tempo was just a hair faster than she could comfortably sing the florid lines. The high "c" at the end sounded far too difficult for a soprano like Bonney who does have such easy beautiful high notes. Additionally, I would have liked to hear her sing the entire piece as opposed to just the "Alleluia". I wish the Weber "Pie Jesu" weren't included. I always skip it. There's too much glorious music that suits Bonney so well for her to waste an entire track on this silliness.
Having said all this, the album is not at all a complete loss. There are some truly fine moments on here too. The Mozart arias are wonderful. Her voice really has the appropriate sex appeal for Susanna's aria. That's a favorite of mine anyway. Love the Strauss! Like the Dowland to open the cd. And check out track 16, "Die Nachtigall." The first time I listened to the cd, I had to do a "double take" halfway through this song. I grabbed the cd case and liner notes to see if someone else were singing this piece (since there are several guests on this collection) because it simply didn't sound like the same person. There's a depth and steely quality to her voice that I had never heard from her before. I was amazed. I suspect that she couldn't sustain that sound comfortably for an extended amount of time, but I was still very impressed to hear that she has that capability.
I tend to be overly wordy, so I'll wrap up by saying that this is indeed a cd that is worth buying if you can find it for reasonably less than the retail price. It's worth having for some of the better moments on the recording, but might be somewhat disappointing if you have invested the full retail value (as I did).