Arabesque / Olga Peretyatko

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ARABESQUE • Olga Peretyatko (s); Enrique Mazzola, cond; NDR SO • SONY 88837 39592 (75: 04) MOZART Ah, se in ciel. Don Giovanni: Non mi...
ARABESQUE Olga Peretyatko (s); Enrique Mazzola, cond; NDR SO SONY 88837 39592 (75: 04)

MOZART Ah, se in ciel. Don Giovanni: Non mi dir. Le nozze di Figaro: Deh vieni, non tardar . ROSSINI Le nozze di Teti e di Peleo: Ah non potrian resistere . BELLINI I puritani: Son vergin vezzosa; O rendetemi la speme … Qui la voce. VERDI I vespri Siciliani: Bolero. GOUNOD Mireille: O légère hirondelle. BIZET Vasco da Gama: Ouvre ton Coeur . DELL’ACQUA Villanelle. ARDITI Il bacio. J. STRAUSS II Die Fledermaus: Spiel ich die Unschuld vom Lande. ALABIEFF Die Nachtigall

In Fanfare 36:4, Bill White (reviewing an Arthaus DVD of Rossini’s Sigismondo ) wrote the following: “I keep a little mental list of current singers who really understand the bel canto style and can sing it properly, and not just sopranos; florid bel canto music has been written for all vocal ranges, and by composers as diverse as Handel, Mozart, and Verdi. Young Russian soprano Olga Peretyatko will be added to the list immediately, she is a real find.” All I can do is concur and recommend this spectacular recital to any vocal lover who enjoys the art of the coloratura soprano.

There are moments when I find the timbre just a bit too tight, sounding too much like it is being produced in the throat. But those moments are offset by spectacular agility, a free and open top up to a high E, and most of all a sense of imagination and fun. This Russian soprano may have been trained in St. Petersburg and then in Berlin, but she understands instinctively the Italian bel canto tradition, and sings it as if it were in her DNA. She has fun with the cabalettas, she ornaments second verses, she throws in surprising dynamic shadings, and she phrases with originality and taste.

There are some wonderful rarities here, chief among them the aria from Rossini’s cantata Le nozze di Teti e di Peleo . You’ll be quite surprised, as the cabaletta to that scene is nothing more than an upward transposition of “Non più mesta” from Cenerentola . The abandon that Peretyatko brings to it is infectious, and the high E is spectacular. This is, in fact, an extremely well-chosen program, mixing old favorites with unusual repertoire and nicely balanced. The orchestra and conductor seem inside the spirit of the music, and the recorded sound is very well balanced, with the singer forward without seeming to diminish the orchestra. Sony, however, should have its corporate wrist slapped, repeatedly, for failing to include texts and translations. A charming essay on “the female virtuoso” is fine, but the texts are indispensable. Although vocal collectors will know most of this repertoire, they will not know all of it, and less experienced listeners will be left completely in the dark. It is artistically irresponsible for a major label to issue a recording like this without the texts. One also has to wonder why Sony labels the last track, Alabieff’s Nightingale , a “bonus.” It is simply the 13th track!

I do not want to end on a negative, however. Olga Peretyatko is a fabulous lyric coloratura, an old-fashioned soprano who sings with a smile in the voice, remarkable vocal control, a real force of personality, and a sense of sheer joy in showing off her stuff. This is a terrific collection, one I will return to many times.

FANFARE: Henry Fogel

One’s reaction is either “Oh, no, not another coloratura soprano,” or “Oh, good, another coloratura soprano.” By the end of this recital of chestnuts mingling with the somewhat unexpected, the “Oh, good” wins, despite not having discovered another great interpreter–or Sutherland, although this singer is certainly closer to a Stimme diva than a Kunst diva.

That having been said, she has quite a “Stimme”, and she seems a fine enough, if not deep enough, artist. Opening with Mozart can get bad singers in trouble—razzle dazzle isn’t enough—but Olga Peretyatko rises to the occasion: “Ah, si in ciel, benigne stele” is beautifully phrased, with endless runs and octave leaps in place; Donna Anna’s “Non mi dir” is clean and clear, each word understandable, and Peretyatko has no trouble with the tricky ending. You wish that conductor Enrique Mazzola had opted to add some energy to the cabaletta section; he’s bland when he could have been exciting. He offers lovely support to his soprano in Susanna’s “Deh, vieni…,”sung with warmth and feeling and some high-flying decorations near its close.

Rossini’s cantata Le nozze di Teti e di Peleo, composed for a Hapsburg wedding with Isabella Colbran as a goddess, has familiar moments for Rossinians—much of it was previously used for Almaviva’s final aria in Barbiere and later re-adapted for Cenerentola’s. It’s good to hear it in this format, and Peretyatko sings the heck out of it, with lovely trills, smooth legato, and a fine sense of line. Elvira’s “Son vergin vezzosa” and Mad Scene are also well sung with fine innocence for the first and notes of sadness for the bigger scene; Sony should have supplied the interstitial choral material for both the Rossini and Bellini. As fine and clean as all of these bel canto gems are sung, it’s hard to disregard how the very highest notes—D, E-flat, E—are on the verge of trouble, either shattering, shrieking, or coming in south of pitch. Verdi’s “Bolero” from Vespri closes what may be called the “serious” part of the program (sung with the same fluency and issues at the top of the voice).

The rest are fluffy showpieces, not that there’s anything wrong with that. “O légère hirondelle” from Gounod’s Mireille; “Ouvre ton coeur” from Bizet’s Vasco da Gama; and a somewhat insipid “Villanelle” by Eva Dell’Acqua are for canary fanciers, and as such are well performed. But there’s more: Arditi’s Il bacio is feather-light (if one recalls Sutherland’s gigantic reading of this, which is sounding more and more right as the years go on); Adele’s perky couplets from Fledermaus are well negotiated and very charmingly characterized, if you can stand them at all; and as a “bonus track” (what did we do to deserve it?) we get Alexander Alabieffs’ “Nightingale”, which is simply enchanting. It’s not easy to listen to 74 minutes of high coloratura singing, and I recommend taking this in smaller doses, but Peretyatko is most certainly a singer worth hearing.

-- Robert Levine,

Product Description:

  • Release Date: February 18, 2014

  • UPC: 888837385923

  • Catalog Number: 88883738592

  • Label: Sony

  • Number of Discs: 1

  • Period: ""

  • Composer: Alexander Alyabyev, Charles Gounod, Eva Dell'Acqua, Georges Bizet, Gioachino Rossini, Giuseppe Verdi, Johann Strauss Jr., Luigi Arditi, Vincenzo Bellini, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

  • Conductor: Enrique Mazzola

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: North German Radio Symphony Orchestra

  • Performer: Olga Peretyatko