Recordings > Editor's Choice

Olga Peretyatko: "Arabesque"

spacer Arias and songs by Alabiev, Arditi, Bellini, Bizet, dell'Acqua, Gounod, Mozart, Rossini, J. Strauss and Verdi; NDR Sinfonieorchester, Mazzola. No texts. Sony 88883738592.

Russian Nightingale

Coloratura Olga Peretyatko's new disc from Sony is an enjoyable and accomplished program of songs and arias.

PeretyatkoCD

After a number of European triumphs, including several at Pesaro, the vocally and physically stunning Russian coloratura Olga Peretyatko made her New York debut in March 2011 at BAM, breathtakingly headlining Robert Lepage's brilliant production of Solovei (The Nightingale). She comes to the Met this spring in Puritani; this CD should arouse expectations. Sony provides no texts. It's notthat kind of a recital: rather, it's a showcase for Peretyatko's excellent instrument, fine technique and bright energy. Oddly, the booklet contains no information about the soprano or her supportive conductor, Enrique Mazzola.

Mozart's fiercely testing concert aria "Ah, se in ciel" (K. 538)  starts things with a bang. Her two Mozartean operatic selections, also extremely well vocalized, confirm that Peretyatko is well versed in current ideas about performance style: appropriate appoggiaturas are observed, trills are sounded, and impressive though tasteful cadenzas are inserted. In Donna Anna's "Non mir dir,"  Peretyatko's singing is clean and accomplished, but the expression is rather monochromatic; she and Mazzola fail to mark much if any distinction in mood between the slow and fast sections. Words are clear but not "alive." Susanna's enchanting "Deh vieni" gets rather warmer treatment.

The recital moves on to an aria from Rossini's 1816 oratoriod'occasion, Le Nozze di Teti e di Peleo, which incorporates the rondo the composer recycled in the final scenes of both Barbiere and Cenerentola. Peretyatko here sounds limpid, spirited and entirely at home in the bel canto idiom. She avoids the "toothpaste squeezed" legato that has made several prominent gifted Slavic nightingales sound so extrinsic to the tradition. Downward chromatic scales are smooth. Extreme high notes, while reached, are not her absolute glory, but the filigree work is highly impressive. The Puritani selections — the famous Polacca, then "Qui la voce" and "Vien diletto"  in quick succession — display beautiful sound, sparkling agility and appropriate if rather lavish ornamentation. Peretyatko's Elvira sounds a delightful, trusting young woman. In dramatic impact, these cuts suffer from Sony's failure to engage a chorus or supporting singers. The (now seemingly inevitable) Vespri bolero  gets somewhat superficial treatment.

Peretyatko's sung German is clear enough to make a success of Adele's Act III showpiece  from Die Fledermaus. Perhaps more Viennese numbers would have been wise; the soprano was ill-advised to record her three French-language numbers here. Her vowels are iffy, and most words are just incomprehensible. It's a pity, as the repertory is interesting — not so much the mindless "O légère hirondelle"  Caroline Miolan-Carvalho extracted from Gounod for Mireille but Bizet's bolero "Ouvre ton coeur,"  from his Prix de Rome "ode symphony" Vasco da Gama, and a pretty, twittery salon piece  by Eva dell'Acqua (1856–1930), which is very neatly executed. Peretyatko's voice is more intrinsically beautifully than those of many French sopranos, yet she could learn a lot about linguistic style and coloristic charm from the light, fleet French music recorded by Renée Doria and Mady Mesplé. Encore territory arrives with "Il bacio" and another "Solovei" — Alexander Alabiev's, quite haunting — which is mysteriously termed a "bonus track" to the dozen numbers on this enjoyable calling card for a most impressive young talent. spacer

DAVID SHENGOLD

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Current Issue: October 2014 — VOL. 79, NO. 4