REVIVE Garanca 4795937

At the start of her career, Garanca was praised for her flexibility and brilliance; now time and pregnancy have added depth, mellowness and complexity . . . the most remarkable thing about Garanca's mezzo-soprano is its clarity, brightness and strength throughout the range, including some very punchy low notes. Her "Acerba voluttà" from "Adriana Lecouvreur", on the new recording, is powerful and thrilling.

In the Met's run of Donizetti's "Roberto Devereux" last spring, you couldn't keep your eyes off Garanca . . . In the big duet with Polenzani, "Tutto è silenzio", Garanca's rich, velvety timbre poured forth in phrases that ached with intensity . . . Garanca's lower range has developed extra richness, and she is blessed with a free and easy top that is equally round and alluring . . .

. . . a fine collection including some rarely-heard music from Massenet's "Herodiade", Leoncavallo's "La Bohème", and Saint-Saens' "Henry VIII". It is always a pleasure to hear this remarkable singer, and here she has splendid support from the fine chorus and orchestra led by Roberto Abbado. Excellent sound as well, and complete texts/translations are included.

. . . a thrillingly sung portfolio . . . [Cilea / "Io son l'umille ancella"]: encompassing the higher tessitura with ease, Garanca's Adriana is very much a high-minded Classical grande dame . . . And what a chest-voice! Though the top end's as gleaming and secure as ever, these days Garanca's mezzo really comes into its own in the lower-middle register . . . She's also compelling in the opening track, Santuzza's "Voi lo sapete" from Mascagni's "Cavalleria rusticana" . . . it says something that Garanca made me feel like I was hearing her tale of woe for the very first time . . . Each of these complex and diverse women spring to life fully formed and meticulously differentiated, and you never get the sense that she's using every item in her new technical tool-box for its own sake: listen, for instance, to the restrained resignation of her Didon from "Les Troyens", which has to be the most dignified and quietly heartbreaking account of the scene on disc since Janet Baker's . . .

Garanca's voice is full and glamorous with an increased weight behind it, but expressive despite its density. For the lower notes, she has a chest voice that she can brandish like a mace, which comes in handy for Massenet's Hérodiade, and, even more, Adriana Lecouvreur's rival the Princess de Bouillon . . . she gives a rapt account of Adriana's humble-slave-to-art aria . . . Conductor Roberto Abbado and his Spanish orchestra offer bright, energetic support.

This is a thrilling disc, rich in a sumptuous quality that has become all too rare . . . Her voice is a gorgeously plum-coloured, velvet-upholstered instrument of awe-inspiring smoothness, power and flexibility, matched to a powerhouse technique and highly intelligent musicality. Her lower register is quite magnificent . . . [Garanca possesses] a dramatic urgency and imposing regality that sits well with the queenly characters that she mostly embodies . . . she is also a beautiful woman and a vivid actress . . . Sensitive accompaniment is provided by the conductor Roberto Abbado and a little-known but vivacious Spanish orchestra and chorus. Highlights include a scintillatingly flamboyant and sinuously phrased performance of Eboli's "Veil Song" from "Don Carlo" . . . Preziosilla's merry "Rataplan" from "La Forza del Destino" is done with irresistible élan . . . Saint- Saens's "Henri VIII" brings this exciting recital by one of the world's greatest vocalists to a strong conclusion.

. . . hugely impressive . . .

. . . a quite exceptional recital . . . Garanca is turning into perhaps the exceptional mezzo of her generation. . . the big aria from "Cavalleria Rusticana", sounds much more potent sung by her, with her powerful chest notes, than by most, lighter toned sopranos . . . this album, primarily of Italian and French material, should be sought out by any connoisseur of the voice.

This is a quite exceptional recital . . . Elina Garanca is turning into perhaps the exceptional mezzo of her generation . . . [the big aria from "Cavalleria Rusticana"] sounds much more potent sung by her, with her powerful chest notes, than by most lighter-toned sopranos.

It's certainly a mouth watering fourteen aria programme and Garanca has chosen a combination of several appealing rarities as well as great audience favourites. The recital gets off to a flying start, with Garanca clearly relishing the role of Mascagni's Santuzza with "Voi lo sapete, o mamma" sung with liberal amounts of passion. Not surprisingly it's the mezzo's favourite aria in the collection. Gloriously melodic, Garanca and Cilea are a heady combination. Sending a shiver down the spine with her surges of emotion, Garanca in "Io son l'umile ancella", Adriana's aria from "Adriana Lecouvreur" is ravishing, demonstrating lovely control of the climax. Another genuine highlight is Mignon's aria "Connais-tu le pays" from Thomas's "Mignon" with tender singing full of introspection as she reminisces about her former home . . . Blessed with remarkable ability to convey emotion with her words Garanca has a divine voice, rich and weighty yet smooth and secure . . . Under the baton of Roberto Abbado the Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana resident orchestra at Opera Valencia is in impressive form playing with style, verve and ideal levels of expression . . . Satisfying recorded sound from the Opera Valencia being clear, immediate and well balanced. With Elina Garanca extending her reach into dramatic repertoire "Revive" is a captivating album that keeps providing pleasure.

The album reveals that Garanca is ready, both vocally and dramatically, to make the move into this repertoire. Conductor Roberto Abbado and the Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana provide ideal accompaniment.

. . . an album of beautifully managed contradictions. Garanca finds the girlish frailty in "Santuzza" as well as her power in an exceptional "Voi lo sapete, o mamma", and mines all the mature emotional indulgence of Charlotte's "Va! Laisse couler mes larmes" . . . for all-out beauty it's hard to beat the endless legato of Garanca's "Connais-tu le pays" . . . Conductor Roberto Abbado draws plenty of swagger and surge from the Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana . . .

. . . [there's a lot to be impressed with in the Santuzza] and in the other Italian numbers, particularly as she gets into her powerful upper register -- her final phrase in "Adriana Lecouvreur's" "Io son l'umile ancella" is magnificent . . . There's a classy, moving grandeur to Didon's "Adieu, fière cité", and a lovely wistfulness to her Mignon . . . In short, here's a beautifully regulated voice negotiating challenging repertoire with ease, going smoothly through the gears. Vocally it's very impressive . . . Bonus points for the rarer repertoire . . .

. . . enjoyable rarities from Saint-Saens and Massenet . . . Garanca sails through the gentleness of Mignon and passions of Charlotte ("Werther") . . . she has a natural affinity with French repertoire.

The mezzo is on fruity, rich form in French, Russian and German arias . . . Her "Mignon" is especially moving.

. . . [Garanca shows] that her artistry has evolved in range and depth . . . vocally this album is a bold move beyond the bel canto roles . . . She displays a big, opulent voice with a strong lower register . . . a rounded "plummy" timbre, and flexible upper range . . . I found "Ah! je vais mourir" from "Les Troyens" beautiful and moving. The singer's power in the lower register makes "Voi lo sapete" from "Cavalleria rusticana" a surprising success . . . [Abbado provides] knowing, energetic leadership . . . I welcome this lovely CD as an important turning point for an acclaimed singer . . .

. . . [Garanca is] lavishly gifted . . . [the arias from Leoncavallo's "Bohème" and from] "Henry VII" by Saint-Saens are particular plums. Garanca also does a good job presenting Hérodiade's "Ne me refuse pas" . . . [the aria] from "Boris Godunov" suits Garanca very well and gets a rhythmically crisp, relatively well-characterized traversal -- she'd be thrilling in this role on stage . . . [Garanca shows spirit in Preziosilla's "Rataplan" where the Tebaldo of Jennifer O'Loughlin is] unusually audible and effective, balancing the number pleasingly. DG merits praise for providing such effective comprimarios and choristers where needed.

. . . exquisit . . . wenn man Elina Garancas neues Album "Revive" hört, wächst der Wunsch, sie mit einigen der darauf vertretenen Partien in Gesamtaufnahmen zu erleben . . . Etwa als Dido in Berlioz' "Les Troyens" oder als Herodiade in Massenets gleichnamiger Oper, schöner nämlich hat diese Rollen bisher noch niemand auf Schallplatte gesungen. Elina Garancas herrlich dunkles Timbre, ihre formvollendete Gesangskunst sowie die meisterhafte und wohlüberlegte Dosierung des Ausdrucks -- von distanziert kühl bis zur leidenschaftlichsten Emphase -- machen jede der 14 Arien auf diesem Album zu einem Ereignis . . . mit der Mezzopartie der Fürstin Boullion aus "Adriana Lecouvreur" und der Arie der Titelheidin aus derselben Oper demonstriert sie die enorme Spannweite ihrer Stimme.

Das breit gefächerte Repertoire dokumentiert die stimmlichen Möglichkeiten und zugleich die Wandlungsfähigkeit der Elina Garanca.