Ludwig van Beethoven: Fidelio, Op.72: “Abscheulicher, Wo eilst du hin?” – Ah! perfido, Op.65
Luigi Cherubini: Medea: “Dei tui figli la madre”
Pietro Mascagni: Cavalleria rusticana: “Voi lo sapete” (*)
Giuseppe Verdi: La forza del destino: “Pace, pace, mio Dio” – Otello: “Ave Maria piena di grazia”
Richard Wagner: Fünf Gedichte für eine Frauenstimme, “Wesendonck-Lieder”, WWV 91 (Orchestration: Felix Mottl [1-4], Richard Wagner )
Lise Davidsen (soprano), Rosalind Plowright* (mezzo-soprano), London Philharmonic Orchestra, Sir Mark Elder (conductor)
Recording: Henry Wood Hall, London (August 1-4, 2020) & Colosseum, Watford (October 15, 2020) – 63’28
DECCA Classics # 485 1507 (Distributed by Universal Music) – Booklet in English, French and German
A superstar is born. Thirty-two-year-old world-acclaimed Swedish soprano Lise Davidsen has quickly reached the top in her category. Some call it a “once-in-a-century” voice. Audiences of major opera houses throughout the world are nothing less than ecstatic. The reason? A powerful voice that never seems to lose its musicality, an electrifying, gleaming tone, and impressive artistry at conveying feelings. As her first recording with Decca previously demonstrated in a R. Wagner/R. Strauss program, the voice is capable of rising over a mighty orchestra. In this album, Davidsen delicately adjusts the volume to the ethereal tenderness of a “Pace, pace, mio Dio...” or Santuzza’s poignant outcry of sorrow. Leonore’s “Abscheulicher” is delivered with stunning easiness and incredible breath capacity (read ConcertoNet’s review of Fidelio in Montreal), while her Wesendonck-Lieder are a moment of grace to remember. Her Medea is robust and highly convincing.
If the stage charisma matches her exceptional vocal gift, this lyric/dramatic soprano certainly is on the way to having a world-shattering career.
This recording also allows seasoned opera fans to briefly hear famed British opera singer Rosalind Plowright, still in healthy vocal form, as Lucia in the Cavalleria rusticana excerpt.
The London Philharmonic Orchestra under Sir Mark Elder remains at a polite distance and adds, as always, its distinguished sound to this recording.