BBC Music Magazine
Arias by Bellini, Donizetti and Rossini
Venera Gimadieva (soprano),
Natalia Brzezi ska (mezzo-soprano), Alberto Sousa (tenor); The Hallé/ Gianluca Marcianò
Rubicon RCD1021 77:44 mins
From a character perspective, female protagonists in bel canto opera
– a style that was popularised in the 19th century – had a rotten time of it. They were generally portrayed as passionate to the point of instability, desirable (to men) and unobtainable. There was no doubt in Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti et al’s minds: Eve was a soprano. The bel canto heroines, therefore, have some of the most expressive, acrobatic lines in the repertory – and it is those that Venera Gimadieva has selected for this ‘best of’ collection, recorded with The ★allé.
Gimadieva tackles the coloratura with dexterity, presenting characterful interpretations throughout. In ‘Regnava nel silenzio’ from Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, the Russian soprano captures the precariousness of the eponymous heroine’s position, and foreshadows her upcoming break from reality. Mezzo-soprano Natalia Brzezi ska features as the maid; returning later for ‘Assia a pièd’un salice’ (Otello, Rossini), along with tenor Alberto Sousa. Both serve to highlight Gimadieva’s vocal pyrotechnics, which are at their most exuberant in ‘Ah! Non credea … Ah! non giunge’ (La sonnambula, Bellini), where we imagine Gimadieva lost in a hallucinatory slumber.
The ★allé, conducted by Gianluca Marcianò, are sympathetic collaborators throughout, upping the ante during an enjoyable
‘Willow Song’. Claire Jackson PERFORMANCE ★★★★ RECORDING ★★★