CD: Elina Garanca: Aria Cantilena


Elina Garanca's first recital disc is puzzling. The title, Aria Cantilena, suggests that the young Latvian mezzo's aim is to treat us to a display of shapely singing in which the sustaining of long vocal lines is of primary importance. In fact, her programme - big operatic numbers, Villa-Lobos's Bachianas Brasileiras No 5, arias from French and Spanish operettas, a chunk of Strauss's Rosenkavalier - is so strenuously varied that one fears for the toll it may have taken on her voice. Place the album alongside her recording of Rossini's Barber of Seville, released only last year, and you notice a reduction in fullness in her lower registers, a hardness creeping in at the top and an occasional pulse in the tone, none of it helped, in this instance, by a very reverberant recording. Her coloratura is impressive, and she possesses an exemplary trill, but her singing is often undercharacterised: she doesn't fully register the anguish of Charlotte in Massenet's Werther, while Offenbach's Grand Duchess of Gerolstein, ogling men in uniform, isn't nearly filthy enough. The Strauss suits her best. The overall impression, however, is of someone doing too much too soon.


Tim Ashley

The GuardianTramp

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