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Cat. No. CHAN 3127 Price: £10 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 3127 - Great Operatic Arias, Vol. 17 - Christine Brewer
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Available From: 08 August 2005
The voice of Christine Brewer possesses the ideal combination of power and firmness, radiance and breadth, required of the heroic soprano, and she has spirit to match, along with a great warmth of feeling and sense of dramatic conviction. In Donna Anna’s ‘Vengeance’ aria from Don Giovanni the powerful sweep of the phrases, the intensity of angry emotion (ennobled by restraint) and above all the effect of those climactic high As call for a voice of heroic volume and quality. Alceste’s aria from Gluck’s Alceste is a good example of the noble style, plain but forcible, suiting this type of voice. Tracing the development of the voice to Wagner, the present recital stops at Tannhäuser and Elizabeth’s ‘Hall’ aria. The stages on the journey are Beethoven’s concert aria Ah! Perfido,Weber’s ‘Ocean’ aria from Oberon and the Scene from Euryanthe. The Inflammatus from Rossini’s Stabat Mater bears several marks of the school of singing which these other composers most resolutely supersede: the decorative turns and trills, the encouragement to the singer to exhibit her technical skill as well as the sheer naked power of her top C. It is clearly written for a big voice. ‘The night is calm and cloudless’ from Sullivan’s The Golden Legend will surely be an unexpected item in the programme. The operettas of Lehár and Kálmán are vocally from the same tradition as the nineteenth-century operas; Lehár’s Giuditta in particular has attracted many sopranos not normally associated with the sway of a seductive waltz tune. The American musicals are a kind of extension of the operetta tradition, nearer to the modern free and-easy style but still broadly melodic, and capable of a certain grandeur when sung by a big voice, as here. The homely girl Mira from Carnival may be unlikely company for Alceste, Donna Anna and the rest of their dramatic tribe, but might not Brünnhilde herself, in a relaxed moment, find ‘You’ll never walk alone’ from Carousel a fine song for singing…?

The music chosen leaves no room for monotony as it ranges from Wagner to Gluck, Sullivan to Rodgers, Rossini to Léhar and the recital ends with Bob Merrill’s’ Mira – can you imagine that?’, but it seems to work a s a totality. Brewers ample, intense singing is heard at its best in the Wagner item ‘Great hall of the song’ (Tanhäuser) where she weaves an ecstatic cantilena.
Opera Now

…her voice is a flood of molten fold, glittering and seductive…
Classic FM Magazine

Reiza’s large-scale ‘ocean! Thou mighty monster’ is delivered with the right panache tinged with sensitivity, and benefits from being sung in an original English text. Beethoven’s scena ‘Ah! perfido’, as one would expect from her Leonore, is another success, sympathetic in tone, the line always exemplary. It is also good to hear her gentler accents in ‘The night is calm’, a fine solo from Sullivan’s ‘The Golden Legend’…

It’s certainly a thrilling sound (try Gluck’s ‘Alceste’) and most of the fabled difficulties of Weber’s ‘Ocean! Thou mighty monster’ (composed to an English text) do not phase her.
BBC Music Magazine

The Met is a hard house to fill, but Brewer’s huge, luscious voice did the job without any apparent effort. Her vocal control is amazing, her upper range utterly gorgeous, her German diction impeccable, her presence commanding.

Hats off, gentlemen. A diva. The real, rare, wondrous thing. Her name is Christine Brewer.
London Evening Standard

Few sopranos today give us ‘The night is calm’ from Sullivan’s ‘The Golden Legend’ and how tenderly Miss Brewer transforms herself here from Wagnerian soprano to the English tradition. No surprise, then, that she makes something special of ‘You’ll never walk alone’ and is enchanting in Lehár and Kálmán and magnificent in Beethoven’s ‘Ah Perfido!’ Some singer. David Parry conducts the Philharmonia in excellent accompaniments tot his variety of musical styles.
Sunday Telegraph

Brewer, in stunning voice, has a matchless way with words, gloriously capturing Isolde’s every swerve from despair to rage and self-pity.


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