Pretty But Complacent Mozart From Rebeka

Review by: Robert Levine


Artistic Quality: 7

Sound Quality: 9

Thirty-three year old Latvian soprano Marina Rebeka is making quite a name for herself, singing Violetta, Leila (in Pearl Fishers), Donna Anna, Anna (in Maometto II), Fiordiligi, Juliette, and other lyric roles all over the world. The voice is a full, lovely lyric soprano, without a break from top to bottom, with an unusual upper extension—she sings both Queen of the Night arias on this CD and has little trouble with the heights or the coloratura (although one suspects that these will be showpieces for her and not repertory items). Her “Porgi amor” and “Dove sono” are lovely and winsome, but miss true melancholy; “Crudele…Non mi dir” is fluent, rhythmically perfect, and perfectly placed; “Mi tradi” comes off without a hitch and is sung with long breaths and a clear sense of the musical line; “Ach ich fühls” is tender and filled with lovely pianissimos. And her sound is beautiful—warm and caressing.

But she’s not perfect: She has no trill—particularly bothersome near the end of “Dove sono” where it is a crucial moment; she uses no chest voice where it would be appreciated or is almost an imperative (in Elettra’s ”D’Oreste, d’Aiace”, for instance); and although her “Martern aller arten” is suitably effortless, she merely glances at the low notes. What she’s lacking, it seems, is identification with anything like rage or anger. Sadness and introspection come easily and well to her (and to her sort of smooth delivery and tone), but high drama is yet to be achieved. The soft accompaniment under Speranza Scappucci might not help matters, although the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic plays handsomely. Rebeka is definitely a soprano to pay attention to, but she’ll have to take more risks and/or find her way into the characters she’s portraying before the word “great” can be applied.

Buy Now from Arkiv Music

Recording Details:

    Arias from Idomeneo, Le nozze di Figaro, Die Zauberflöte, Don Giovanni, Die Entführung aus dem Serail

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