Mstation Classical Reviews

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Fri, 02 Mar 2007

Age of the Diva

Various, Renee Fleming
Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre
Valery Gergiev
LP, Decca

For me, the standout diva disc of recent times was Cecilia Bartoli's Christmas 2005 offering. This was the top-selling CD in France at the time and might have been elsewhere as well. Just as an aside, how can a country with general good taste have such dire television? Perhaps they just admit it's for the bottom 2% and ignore it.

Smetana, Tchaikovsky, Puccini, Korngold, Verdi, and Janacek make up some of the composers on this disc. Fleming has a very nice voice as well. It is rather smooth and velvety and generally nice on the senses. This is not true of everyone in the current crop and I have to say that a real Bel Canto belter sets my teeth on edge but this is exactly what some people like best. Which prompts me to wonder, as a sort of extreme extension - what would Janis Joplin, controlled as she was in the end by the worst elements of big label greed, have made of this sort of repertoire? heh heh. (Baron K)

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