We found this article today via AssociatedContent.com. The author proclaims early on that he is not a fan of Verdi operas. Yet, when Sondra Radvanovsky’s “Verdi Arias” is forced on him by a friend, he can’t help but be won over!”
The Present Has a Verdi Soprano. Her Name is Sondra Radvanovsky
By Stephen Murray
When I picked him up to take him to the airport, my friend Gary pressed the disc of Sondra Radvanovsky Verdi arias on me, saying I had to listen to it. I reminded him that I am not much of a fan of Verdi operas (the operatic sacred music is another matter). The only Verdi opera I actually like is “Othello,” and for the title tenor part. Radvanovsky does not take on Desdemona’s final aria.
She does provide a heart-wrenching selection from “Aida,” the only other Verdi opera I’ve made it all the way through in one listening or watching. “O mia patria” as she sings it is thrilling. There is a high note midway through that gives me goose bumps (the physical indication of “thrilling”). Just when they subside, they are raised again a minute before the end with (-1:16) another. And she nails one from nowhere (a pause in singing at -44 seconds with a major crescendo building on it.
The leap at the start of the last minute of” Arrigo! Ah, Parli A Un Cor” from the Sicilian Vespers and another that follows are thrilling, even if the downward arpeggio following the second one slides too much. The top notes of the leaps are nailed. The final note of “Pace, pace” from “La forza del destino” also must be singled out for praise.
The top of Radvanovsky’s is beautiful (in contrast to Callas) and, like Leontyne Price, Radvanovsky has great power from the bottom to the top of the soprano range.
I can’t judge her Italian diction, Beautiful as her voice is, rapid flurries of note show that she would not do well in the bel canto repertoire (the beautiful singing of Rossini and Bellini requires greater precision at higher speeds) though her trills are superb.
Discs of arias, especially those devoted to one composer, can get a bit tedious. I welcome the chorus (uncredited on the DVD box, it is the Moscow Academy of Choral Arts) joining Radvanovsky on the second “Forza” track. They are also there on the final track of the disc, which, alas, is the one I least like (the music, not the singing)…read the full review on AssociatedContent.com!