Dinara Alieva: "Pace Mio Dio"
Czech National Symphony Orchestra, M. Rota. Texts and translations. Delos 3462
Azeri soprano Dinara Alieva trained in Baku. After a few years at the theater there, she guested as Liù at Moscow's Bolshoi Opera in 2009 and joined that theater the following year for a number of starring roles. So far, her outstanding Western credit is two Donna Elviras at Vienna State Opera in 2011; she returns there this spring for Tchaikovsky's Tatiana. She has also sung Elvira and Violetta at Deutsche Oper Berlin. Delos's packaging emphasizes that Alieva is an extremely attractive woman; fortunately — as is not always the case these days — she also demonstrates considerable temperament and has a striking, beautifully colored instrument.
Alieva, professionally supported throughout by Marcello Rota and a perfectly competent orchestra, offers a program of very familiar Italian arias — virtually nothing most collectors won't own in versions by Callas, Tebaldi, Price or, in the case of younger listeners, Gheorghiu. So the CD is clearly meant as a kind of calling card, but it sets itself high standards of comparison. Her Italian is far better pronounced than the usual post-Soviet competition winner's and shows serious application. The clarity is welcome, even though — as she is here presenting mostly roles she has yet to sing onstage — she doesn't always bring something individual to evoking the different characters of Cio-Cio-San, Adriana, Nedda and the rest. But a generalized feeling and energy are never lacking. Germont's letter pre-"Addio del passato" is credibly read, save for an overemphatic "E tardi!" The aria itself is quite commendably sung, with long arcs of sound and a welcome second verse. In Violetta's first scena, which opens the recital, Alieva is hardly the first or last soprano to offer a simplified cadenza at "delizia al cor"; she doesn't quite attain the (unwritten) climactic E-flat. "Vissi d'arte" goes well except that the climax falls in a small zone (A-flat to B-flat) in which, throughout the recital (Lauretta's plea and Adriana's credo furnish other examples), Alieva seems liable to hit notes only with a full-out vibrant throb, at times compromising the line. Sometimes she can taper her voice out of it, sometimes not. That doesn't make for benchmark achievement in the trickiest places (such as "Invan la pace") in the Forza aria from which the CD takes its name. Below and above this, she achieves more variety of attack and dynamics.
Withal, Alieva's is certainly one of the more beautiful and convincing voices I've heard confronting this repertory among the younger generation of singers; that and her glamorous persona should carry her far. Her July appearance at Lincoln Center in the Bolshoi's Tsar's Bride should be eagerly awaited.
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