Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

"Music, both vocall and instrumental, so good, so delectable, so rare, so admirable, so super excellent, that it did even ravish and stupifie all those strangers that never heard the like." - Thomas Coryat, after hearing 3 hours of music at the Scuola di San Rocco in Venice, 1608.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

An impressive debut

This is Marita Solberg's debut solo album, and it's a real winner. I know her only from two Grieg discs on BIS: the complete Peer Gynt from 2009, and Grieg Orchestral Songs from 2010. Listening to those again, it's clear to see that with such a strong, pure voice Solberg had a great future in opera. I'm actually a bit surprised that Solveig's Song isn't included in the this program; it seems to be a bit of a signature song:

Other than that omission, I'm impressed with the program, which shows off Solberg's voice and her range.

The aria by Catalani from La Wally, made famous in Jean-Jacques Beineix's 1981 film Diva, is a great opener. It shows off the powerful yet creamy quality of Solberg's voice while the more controlled Mozart arias that follow, the Countess's arias Dove sono and Porgi amor from The Marriage of Figaro, demonstrate her dramatic intelligence. Two other songs stand out: the drop-dead gorgeous Song to the moon from Dvorak's Rusalka, and an affecting Ave Maria from Verdi's Otello. The strong accompaniment from conductor John Fiore and the Norwegian National Opera Orchestra contributes to an outstanding disc, and they're given their own little encore near the end: the beautiful Interlude from Richard Strauss's Die Liebe der Danae.

An impressive, nearly perfect, debut!

Available for pre-order at Amazon; the release date is April 8, 2016.

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