CHRIS­TINE BREWER Great Strauss Scenes (Te­larc)

Pasatiempo - - Pasa Tempos -

This CD is a must-hear for opera-lovers who like big voices. The so­prano Chris­tine Brewer, who bows this week in Santa Fe Opera’s new pro­duc­tion of Brit­ten’s Al­bert Her­ring, is a long-stand­ing fa­vorite of the com­pany’s au­di­ences thanks to her star­ring ap­pear­ances in such works as Gluck’s Al­ceste, Brit­ten’s Peter Grimes, and Richard Strauss’

Ari­adne auf Naxos and Die ägyp­tis­che He­lena. Her lat­est record­ing, rolling off the presses this week, demon­strates how her voice is cus­tom-suited to Strauss’ more dra­matic so­prano roles. Her im­mense sound cuts through the com­poser’s lush or­ches­tra­tions like a hot knife through but­ter. Her tone is clear, rich, and en­velop­ing, and her phrases soar, some­times to all but unimag­in­able lengths. Three thrilling scenes con­sti­tute the bulk of this disc: the recog­ni­tion scene from Elek­tra, the im­pris­on­ment scene from

Die Frau ohne Schat­ten, and the fi­nal scene from Salome. To­gether they go to the heart of Strauss’ great­est mu­sic for dra­matic so­prano, and Brewer’s ex­tra­or­di­nary voice sup­ports in­ter­pre­ta­tions that of­ten reach elec­tric in­ten­sity. Bass-bari­tone Eric Owens joins her in this recital — very ca­pa­bly, al­though it’s re­ally her show. She is sup­ported by the At­lanta Sym­phony Or­ches­tra, well-heeled un­der the ba­ton of Don­ald Run­ni­cles; and the or­ches­tra takes two im­pres­sive “solo turns” of its own in the lyrical moon­light in­ter­lude from Strauss’ Capric­cio and the ever-pop­u­lar Dance of the Seven Veils

from Salome. It’s a win­ner all around. — James M. Keller

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