BBC Music Magazine

Momento Immobile


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 ★★★

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