Verdi: La Traviata / Oropesa, Oren, Dresden Philharmonic
Featured in the New York Times' "5 Classical Albums You Can Listen To Right Now"
The Dresdener Philharmonie, Sächsischer Staatsopernchor Dresden and conductor Daniel Oren present Verdi’s masterpiece La Traviata, together with a stellar cast including René Barbera as Alfredo, Lester Lynch as Germont, and world star soprano Lisette Oropesa as Violetta. Verdi’s opera from 1853 was revolutionary in the sense that it presented a subject of its own time, rather than the usual historically-remote stories. Interestingly enough, this tragic story of a woman sacrificing her love to save the honor of her beloved’s family still feels as fresh and topical as ever before, explaining its unrelenting popularity. La Travatia is an endless outpour of memorable melodies with a gripping dramatic pace, as well as a tale that is both heartrending and provocative. The main soprano role gradually shifts from coloratura virtuosity to a more lyrical, dramatic idiom when the tragedy progresses, and this performance shows Oropesa’s fluency in both styles. After having sung the title role in the greatest opera houses worldwide, this studio recording captures her unparalleled interpretation for generations to come. Star soprano Lisette Oropesa made her PENTATONE debut with Ombra Compagna; Mozart Concert Arias in 2021. Lester Lynch has a vast PENTATONE discography, including Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, La Fanciulla del West (both 2021) and Il Tabarro (2020), as well as Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana (2020) and Verdi’s Otello (2017). The Dresdener Philharmonie featured on those recordings of Puccini’s Il Tabarro and Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana, while also releasing acclaimed recordings of Beethoven’s Fidelio (2021) and Weber’s Der Freischütz (2019) on PENTATONE. Daniel Oren and René Barbera, who both enjoy a thriving career on the operatic stage, make their PENTATONE debut.
Daniel Oren, now in his mid-sixties, has had an important international career since he won first prize in the first Herbert von Karajan Conducting Competition in 1975. He knows how to build up the prelude from an atmospheric murmuring of the strings to the caressing love theme and then back to a soft end, but as the curtain opens, he shifts gear to a swift, exuberant party mood where everyone is in high spirits. Maybe the rhythms are too accentuated, too rustic for a Parisian upper-class festivity, but one feels the pulsating fervour.
Alfredo sings his Brindisi with his light lyric tenor and Violetta responds with easy effortless tones. Un di, felice is soft, almost dreamlike and very sensitively nuanced, and then comes Violetta’s grand aria: È strano, sensitively, almost hesitatingly, stunned by the sudden feeling of love she has never experienced before; Ah! fors'è lui, beautifully sung and filled with expectations; then she has second thoughts: Follie – This is madness – Sempre libera – Free and aimless I shall flutter. But when she repeats this stanza, she hears Alfredo echo her words from earlier, and even though she adheres to her decision we know that love is going to win...It was a long time since I was so spellbound by this scene.
The playing of the orchestra cannot be faulted and Pentatone’s sound staff deliver an expert recording. Lisette Oropesa...should be heard by every lover of this opera.
-- MusicWeb International
Lisette Oropesa makes for a lovely Violetta, with a quick, touchingly fragile vibrato and a jewel-like voice that catches light in beautiful ways. She can dash off high D flats as a steely, love-averse courtesan in Act I, and move a solo oboe to tears in “Addio del passato” come Act III.
Daniel Oren, more interested in small gestures than gleaming sound, begins the first scene with bumptious brasses and a breakneck tempo that make the room spin, spelling disaster for Verdi’s hard-partying demimondaine. Unwritten flourishes — a crescendo here, some rubato there — add to the impetuous atmosphere.
“La Traviata” rises or falls on the strength of its heroine, and this one soars.
-- New York Times (Oussama Zahr)
Release Date: May 27, 2022
Catalog Number: PTC5186956
Number of Discs: 2
Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
Conductor: Daniel Oren
Orchestra/Ensemble: Dresdner Philharmonie
Performer: Lisette Oropesa, Alexander Köpeczy, René Barbera, Lester Lynch, Ilseyar Khayrullova, Menna Cazel, Francesco Pittari, Allen Boxer, Biagio Pizzuti
Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
Ensemble: Dresden Philharmonic, Sächsischer Staatsopernchor Dresden
Performer: Lisette Oropesa (Soprano), René Barbera (Tenor), Lester Lynch (Baritone), Ilseyar Khayrullova (Mezzo Soprano), Menna Cazel (Soprano), Francesco Pittari (Tenor), Allen Boxer (Baritone), Biagio Pizzuti (Baritone), Alexander Köpeczy (Bass)
Conductor: Daniel Oren