Olga Peretyatko: "Rossini"
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Olga Peretyatko: "Rossini"

CD Button Arias from Il Viaggio a Reims, Semiramide, Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Il Turco in Italia and others. Orchestra and Chorus of the Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Zedda. Sony Classical 8875057412

Recordings Olga Peretyatko Cover 116
Critics Choice Button 1015 

RUSSIAN SOPRANO Olga Peretyatko has made a strong impression internationally in roles as diverse as Susanna, Violetta, Zerbinetta and Stravinsky’s Nightingale. We’re accustomed to hearing most of Peretyatko’s repertoire sung by leggero voices, and several roles represented on this all-Rossini disc are associated with that category. Although her instrument boasts an easy extension to high E-flat, she has a luscious middle range seldom found in leggero sopranos, reminding listeners that she began her training as a mezzo.

Peretyatko brings exceptional stylistic acumen to all the material here, beginning with two scenes from Il Viaggio a Reims. As the Countess de Folleville, whose cavatina laments the loss of her clothes in a coach accident, the singer confidently dispatches bursts of extravagant fioritura. Once the Countess’s hat is salvaged from the wreckage, Peretyatko deliciously communicates the lady’s ecstasy through barrages of formidably difficult roulades and sequences of staccato high Cs. The soprano then turns to the poet Corinna, whose harp-accompanied improvisation Peretyatko shapes with notable grace.

The soprano’s 2012 triumph at Pesaro in Matilde di Shabran is commemorated with that work’s finale. The heroine’s hymn to love in her cavatina is enhanced by youthful charm, a bright twinkle in Peretyatko’s tone, and one especially stunning moment—an arpeggiated ascent to a radiant full-voice high B, followed by a two-octave descending scale. The buoyant, exceedingly ornate cabaletta shows real joy. She doesn’t merely negotiate the technical challenges; she genuinely savors them. 

Memorable, too, is Amenaide’s prison scene from Tancredi, drawing true dramatic acuity from Peretyatko. Her sound’s darkness and her apt line-by-line response to the despairing recitative prove very rewarding, as does the touching simplicity of the cavatina, with the soprano finding lovely opportunities for pianissimo shading. One can only hope the performance will lead to a complete recording by Peretyatko of the role, the latest addition to her extensive gallery of Rossini heroines. She also sails through Fiorilla’s grand-scale Act II scena from Il Turco in Italia, beginning with a persuasive reading of the letter and offering a womanliness in the vocalism atypical of leggero singers in this opera.

Two thrice-familiar pieces are included—“Una voce poco fa” (transposed up, although this singer could easily have managed the original mezzo key), blessedly avoiding excessive perkiness; and “Bel raggio,” in which Semiramide’s longing for Arsace’s return is palpable (listen to the breathless eagerness of “Sì, verrà!”) and the coruscating cabaletta is executed at an admirably relaxed tempo.

Venerable Rossiniano Alberto Zedda leads the Teatro Comunale orchestra with all the necessary precision. The singer is admirably recorded, and the booklet, printed in four languages, includes each aria’s text, plus a breezily phrased but informative program note.  —Roger Pines 

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