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Denyce Graves - Voce di Donna
Christoph Willibald Gluck, Georges Bizet, George Frideric Handel
Denyce Graves - Voce di Donna
Genres: Pop, Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (14) - Disc #1

This isn't mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves's first solo disc (she has previously released a compilation of romantic opera heroines), but it's definitely her most impressive. Like many beginning recording artists, she hasn't al...  more »

      
   
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Amazon.com
This isn't mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves's first solo disc (she has previously released a compilation of romantic opera heroines), but it's definitely her most impressive. Like many beginning recording artists, she hasn't always been able to project her stage electricity into the microphone, but with such a sumptuous voice, one doesn't always mind. Here, though, there's not a dull moment in two choice arias each from roles Graves has sung often onstage: her signature role of Carmen and her almost-as-famous Dalila. There's also a fairly promising preview of the Charlotte from Werther, which she'll sing with Andrea Bocelli in October 1999 in Detroit, though one senses she still has work to do in learning to act with her voice. Two baroque-period selections, an aria from Handel's Amadigi and Purcell's famous "When I Am Laid in Earth" from Dido and Aeneas, suffer from imprecise diction and messy ornaments. But the aria in which Graves sounds most emotionally present is, oddly enough, "Must the Winter Come So Soon" from Barber's Vanessa. Her vivid reading reminds you of what happens onstage with her and hopefully what's to come on recordings. --David Patrick Stearns

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CD Reviews

Warmth of Voice Sometimes Overwhelms
M. Bish | Rochester, NY United States | 10/23/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Ms. Graves has a very engaging personality and a wonderful voice. However, these attributes are not always on display in this recording. She has a warm, creamy voice of a good size and this occasionally, like fellow American Renee Fleming, prevents proper diction. Evidence of this can be heard in the two English language arias; I needed the booklet that comes with the CD to understand what she was saying. Plus, some of the notes she hits are, quite frankly, scary. She's pushing her voice and that is never a good thing! This is most notable in "Acerba Volutta" and the last track (a song from SAMSON ET DALILA). When I heard that this past summer she performed in AIDA I could not help but worry that she was approaching vocal crisis. Verdi is a composer well-known for his grand orchestrations. Only a voice that is naturally large and dramatic (a la Leontyne Price) will thrive in this context. Ms. Graves' voice is naturally dramatic but large it is not. I can only hope that her handlers, vocal coaches, etc. are wisely choosing new roles to add to her repertoire, rather than just trying to groom her for operatic superstardom."Why," you may ask, "if he has all these reservations and criticisms, did he give the album 4 stars?" Well, quite simply, I gave it 4 stars because with this CD, we are witness to some glorious singing, despite the few technical flaws. Denyce Graves' Carmen revels in her sexuality unashamedly. Honestly, how many times have you heard the "Habanera" sung so sensually? We cannot see her but we know that she is winking, smiling, and kicking up her heels in triumph at the power her feminine wiles allow her to wield over Don Jose. The Fanfare reviewer said that Ms. Graves lacks the ability to differentiate between the emotions of the various characters and project these into the microphone but I have to strongly disagree. Anger and doubt are all over La Principessa's aria, while anger, sadness, and remorse color her interpretation of "Voi lo sapete." Her assumption of Dido and Dardanus make me eager for a production mounted for her. We've seen her in verismo, now give us an opportunity to see her in something a little more Baroque, with more acting and vocal challenges to overcome. "Pena tiranna" especially serves as the breath of fresh air that this recital needed. It's far subtler than most of the other arias and in it we see evidence of a trill, which is very exciting. And the ornamentation that the Amazon reviewer speaks of is not unnecessary or distracting. It adds to the song and places the listener in the proper context and frame of mind. In the end, this is a very good recital from a promising talent that will satisfy, provided you are able to overlook some of the vocal flaws. It seriously leaves me panting for more!Note: If you want to see Ms. Graves at her best, vocally and interpretively, pick up her album of spirituals and hymns ANGELS WATCHING OVER ME."
A voice like warm caramel...
M. Bish | 10/28/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I first heard Voce di Donna onboard a United Airlines flight and instantly fell in love with Denyce's beautiful phrasing and lyric musicality. Her voice is truly impressive and speaks of greater things to come as she matures. The selections on this recording are exceptionally well-suited to her, the Carmen arias being my personal favorites. I was so pleased to hear that she will be performing Werther with Andrea Bocelli on my birthday this year, although it's in Detroit so I won't be able to attend. I highly recommend this album to any opera fan, especially those who appreciate a talented mezzo-soprano."
Beautiful Singing
J. Bankens | Lake Charles, LA | 09/30/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Ms. Graves' voice is so warm. The sound is so impressive!!! There has been debate on whether or not she is truly a mezzo-soprano. Some critics feel that she is a true contralto with an extended upper range. The role of Dalila, is also considered borderline mezzo-soprano and contralto. Anyway, her voice has total ring in every tone. The rich sound that she produces is totally even from her bottom register to her top. The baroque selections need to be maybe a little lighter and more pure, but I am not that petty. I just believe that she is absolutely wonderful!!! Brava Ms. Graves!!!"