Verdi Opera Scenes featuring Sondra Radvanovsky, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Constantine Orbelian, and the Philharmonia of Russia, has been out in CD format for just over a week, and reviews are already piling up:
“World-class Verdi sopranos and Verdi baritones are in short supply nowadays. American soprano Sondra Radvanovsky and Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky are among the elites in this area… These scenes are so intense that a listener might think they were taken from performances of the operas rather than a staged concert… The audience was equally enraptured by both singers, as was this listener. Delos helpfully includes an informative essay about the music, bios of the performers, and the lyrics with translations.” – Barry Bassis, The Epoch Times (Full Review)
“Dmitri Hvorostovsky’s long career and vocal gifts have placed him in that small group of must-hear Verdi baritones. Pairing him with the beautifully matched voice of Sondra Radvanovsky makes for a wonderfully compelling recording of Verdi opera excerpts.
Hvorostovsky brings tremendous vocal security and experienced dramatic delivery to his various roles. Radvanovsky matches him measure for measure and the results are stunning. The recording’s producers have wisely selected Un Ballo’s Act 3 Scene 1 duet by Amelia and Renato to open the CD. Beautifully executed, this track firmly holds the listener’s attention for the balance of the disc… Radvanovsky finally closes the live performance with a powerfully and flawlessly executed “Vissi d’arte” (Tosca). The audience in the Moscow Conservatory’s Great Hall reportedly applauded for twenty minutes after this concert – and they had every reason to do so.” – Alex Baran, The WholeNote.com (Full Review)
“I ordered this live concert recording of Verdi duets and solo encores on the strength of Sondra Radvanovsky’s recent Verdi recital, which constitutes the single most exciting disc of Verdi singing I have heard for a generation and here she continues to amaze. This was a concert from the Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory in June 2008; apparently it was ecstatically received by the audience and even with most of the applause faded out you can hear their excitement. One member can hardly wait to explode with “Bravo” at the end of Radvanovsky’s stunning encore, Rusalka’s “Song to the Moon” and there is a palpable electricity in the air; evidently Hvorostovsky and Radvanovsky, now regular concert partners, hit it off and it shows… Orbelian’s accompaniments are ideal; he is always ready to give his singers space without losing his grip and the Philharmonia of Russia play beautifully. Coughing from the rapt Moscovite audience is minimal. The sound is exemplary.” Ralph Moore, Amazon.com (“Full Review)
“I would say that this is really Sondra’s album. I purchased it on the strength of her Verdi Arias album of late, and here she does not disappoint. Her encores are worth the price alone, esp. the “Vissi d’arte” – sheer magic; after hearing her live radio broadcast from the Met a couple of weeks ago, it is wonderful to have a souvenir of that performance, even though this was recorded much earlier. She matches Callas in vocal intensity, with all the requisite emotion demanded by the role.” – Stanley Kustesky, Amazon.com (Full Review)