Drama and duality in Dreisig’s dynamic debut
Anthony Pryer is certain there are great things to come from the talented French-danish soprano
Arias by Gounod, Rossini, Puccini, Massenet, Steibelt, R Strauss and Mozart
Elsa Dreisig (soprano); Orchestra national de Montpellier Occitanie/michael Schønwandt
Erato 9029563413 70:20 mins
The young French-danish singer Elsa Dreisig has been winning prizes since 2015 and has developed her skills singing roles in the opera houses of Berlin, Paris and Zurich. This is her debut album and it is phenomenally good.
First there is the concept of juxtaposing arias for the same dramatic character by different composers – Manon (Puccini and Massenet), Juliette (Steibelt and Gounod), Rosina (Mozart and Rossini), Salome (Massenet and Strauss) – which lifts the collection out of the hackneyed ‘competition arias’ category and allows dramatic explorations of character. Next, the stylistic variety enables the marvellous flexibility of the Montpellier Occitanie orchestra under Michael Schønwandt to come to the fore, ranging from the restrained poise of Mozart’s ‘Porgi amor’, to the ominous undercurrents of Gounod’s ‘Dieu! Quel frisson’, and culminating in the full-on savage drama of Strauss’s Salome.
Finally, of course, there is Dreisig’s voice, youthful yet assured, agile yet fluid, and powerful throughout its entire range. In Rossini’s ‘Una voce poco fa’ the low notes are so rich that she could be mistaken for a mezzo-soprano, and yet the aria glitters with added embellishments, and the high notes are triumphant. In the aria from Massenet’s Thaïs her control of dynamics is impressively expressive, and in the Gounod Faust item she conveys the dance-like rhythms with great panache. ★ere and there (in Mozart’s ‘Porgi amor’ for example) the voice tends to have a cool, technical ‘gloss’ rather than a deeper feeling, but we can certainly expect much more to come from this singer. PERFORMANCE RECORDING
Hear extracts from this recording and the rest of this month’s choices on the BBC Music Magazine website at www.classical-music.com
Dreisig’s voice is powerful throughout its entire range
Leading lady: Elsa Dreisig’s star is rising