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Selected Reviews for
"An Evening of Arias & Songs "

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(EPCASO – Empire Music, dist.)


“Alaskan mezzo-soprano Vivica Genaux made her Met debut in 1997 as a last-minute substitute in Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and it is with Rossini’s music that she makes her solo recorded recital debut.  Genaux is the genuine article, a coloratura with a tone bright, forward and feminine.  Best of all, she has mastered the art of legato singing, present in the most heartening way in all her selections here.”
“In three opera arias she also shows her keen stylistic sense.  All the music, including recitatives, has exciting, persuasive variants and ornaments.  ‘Mura felici,’ Malcolm’s aria from La Donna del Lago, has some extra fireworks as early as the word ‘ridenti’ and a beautifully warm melisma as the hero pronounces the name of his beloved Elena.  Then the repeat of ‘Oh quante lagrime,’ with reversals of the coloratura patterns, new contours and a high B, is – delightfully – only intermittently familiar.  In ‘Giusto Ciel,’ from L’assedio di Corinto, Genaux reminds us of the urgency behind the prayer with her rubato.  The Italian Girl’s ‘Cruda sorte’ also is brilliantly vocalized.  Giovanna d’Arco, an extended cantata that deserves to be better known, gets a knockout performance.  From the start, Genaux effectively portrays Joan’s sense of awe at her mission, and she puts a highly individual stamp on the work when she reminds us how truly frightening it must be to have an enormous sudden vision of God.”
William R. Braun, Opera News, October 1999

“The exciting young American mezzo makes a specialty of Rossini, a composer in whose works she has already won notable success, so it is fitting that this live recording should focus on his music.  Genaux offers scenes from L’Italiana in Algeri, La donna del lago and L’assedio di Corinto, bringing to each a virtuoso assurance in the fabled difficulties of the writing.  In addition, there is the sizeable solo cantata Giovanna d’Arco, a clutch of songs and the ‘Agnus Dei’ from the Petite messe solennelle. In whatever she does Genaux reveals herself as an artist of strong personality with a healthy certainty of artistic expression.  Her voice possesses a brilliant top and has a touch of spice to it, and her diction is always clear.  She characterizes each situation and each individual phrase with skill – the comic trilogy La regata veneziana in which Anzoleta cheers on her beloved Romolo in a Venetian boat race is brilliantly acted – while the ‘Agnus Dei’ shows her ability to get inside the music and release its potential.”
George Hall, Opera Now, November/December 1999