Stoyanova’s Impressive Verismo

Review by: Robert Levine

stoyanova

Artistic Quality: 8

Sound Quality: 9

The whims of opera fans are legendary, and if justice were to be served, soprano Krassimira Stoyanova would be as famous as Anna Netrebko (perhaps) and Angela Gheorghiu (definitely). Hers is a grand sound, with metal behind it, formidable pitch-accuracy, and fine insights into the characters she’s portraying. She eschews exaggeration–possibly to her detriment: she easily could milk many of the arias here (Adriana’s opening monolog, Manon Lescaut’s final-act spiel) for that extra, Olivero/Scotto emotion, but she sticks very closely to written note values and dynamics. Her use of portamento is echt Italian, and her voice is made for this big-boned music when need be, and she can sing sweetly as well: her Liu is lovely, as is the start of “Un bel di”.

There’s great warmth in her singing of Adriana’s two arias; her “La mamma morta” is filled with tragedy, and she sings the heck out of Fidelia’s hand-wringing aria from Puccini’s Edgar. The lengthy scene from Mascagni’s Lodoletta is a welcome rarity, and she’s thoroughly involving. Wally’s aria may lack Callas’ unspeakable sadness, but it reaches great heights; ditto for her “Vissi d’arte”.

I get the feeling that if her conductor had been more of a dramatist than the accompanist Pavel Baleff is here, this fine CD would have worked its way into “magnificent”. I’d like to add that a bit more hysteria/overt emotionalism would not hurt–I saw her Aida live at the Met last season and admired it greatly, but even then I wished she had been a touch more earthy. As it is, this CD gives great pleasure and is well recorded. Stoyanova’s is a voice to hear. The usual notes, no translation of arias, and an obnoxious, cheap-looking CD cover do this release no favors.



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Recording Details:

Album Title: Verismo

Arias by Puccini, Cilea, Catalani, Giordano, & Mascagni

  • Krassimira Stoyanova (soprano)
  • Munich Radio Orchestra, Pavel Baleff


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