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My World: Songs From Around the World
Johann Paul Aegidius Martini, Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, Ottorino Respighi
My World: Songs From Around the World
Genres: Special Interest, Pop, Classical
  •  Track Listings (25) - Disc #1

The cover is a bit much: Angela Gheorghiu descending from an airplane in a glamorous 1950s suit suggesting she's the reincarnation of Maria Callas. And in the notes, the fabulous Romanian soprano tells of her jet-setting...  more »


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The cover is a bit much: Angela Gheorghiu descending from an airplane in a glamorous 1950s suit suggesting she's the reincarnation of Maria Callas. And in the notes, the fabulous Romanian soprano tells of her jet-setting life and how this international program of songs reflects that. She's not quite as versatile as she would like us to believe, but she's the real thing, singing with a strength of conviction and depth of musical understanding that overrides lapses in style. Many singers would just sail through Poulenc's tuneful Les Chemins de l'amour, for example, but Gheorghiu shows what guts it has. --David Patrick Stearns

CD Reviews

Her songs go around the world and to the heart
Joy Fleisig | New York, NY United States | 06/08/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)

"On this 'diva on a world tour' CD, Angela Gheorghiu sings splendidly in a wide variety of styles, from art song to folk song to cabaret song, and even goes slightly into the pop genre, proving that 'crossover' can indeed sound wonderful from a singer of integrity. It doesn't hurt that she has what is probably the most beautiful soprano voice of our time, from a serene, splendid top to a rich and very sexy bottom. Her superb technique is shown by beautiful control of tone and dynamics, especially gorgeous pianissimi. Of course, she is much more than just a `beautiful voice'. Gheorghiu brings the same intensity, total commitment, attention to detail and nuance to her song interpretations as she does to her operatic ones, often with a quietness and introspection that opera usually doesn't require. She not only varies her vocal style, character and even her sound perfectly to each song, she also proves to be an adept linguist, singing 25 songs in 13 (!) languages. While I'm not familiar enough with all the languages to judge her handling of them, anything that Gheorghiu sings in a romance language is wonderful. This includes not only her native Romanian but also French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Ladino (the language of Sephardic Jews, mostly medieval Spanish). She paints words - and entire musical worlds - with the skill of a true artist and rarely fails to touch the heart and soul.The best track on the disc, without question, is Respighi's 'Nebbie'. Gheorghiu not only brings out all the agony of this character but actually uses her voice to create a frozen landscape of desolation and hopelessness. I also was very taken with her interpretations of two 'arie antiche' that proceeded this - the familiar 'Plaisir D'Amour' sung here in Italian, and a sad, introspective rendition of 'Sei tu m'ami', which makes a nice contrast to Cecilia Bartoli's more outgoing and mischevious version. There is also a wonderful rendition of the famous Sephardic lullaby `Durme kerido hijico'. I always admire a `star' singer who introduces new or obscure repertory for a wider audience to fall in love with, and Gheorghiu does this with 3 hauntingly beautiful Romanian songs. The Greek song is the best of many songs where she gets to display her aforementioned mezzoish lower register - her voice is almost unrecognizable. Other highlights include `Solveig's Song', `Chemins de l'amour', `Oh! Quand je dors', `Je te veux', `Azulao' (where she seems to be conjuring the song up from the depths of the earth) and most appropriately to her own life, the Japanese pop song where she sings about the joys of traveling the long road with her lover beside her. The disc ends with a splendid rendition of 'Be My Love', capping the recital with a spectacular high C and proving once and for all that this song is hardly just tenor-only property.My only qualm is that while Gheorghiu's renditions of Schubert and Schumann songs are by no means bad, she has a great deal of competition in this repertory and her renditions don't come quite as special as those of others, or of the other songs on this CD. I think `Zueignung' in particular needs a more heroic sound than she gives it here. Also, I was a bit spoiled for 'Guriwoon Geum Gang San' by hearing Hei-Kyung Hong sing it - she actually IS Korean and brings more deep and specific feeling to this song than Gheorghiu can. I'm also slightly disappointed that she does not include any English (as opposed to American) songs, considering how much she loves working in England and how popular she is there.Malcolm Martineau plays beautifully and is an accompanist of imagination and sensitivity. His affinity with Gheorghiu is shown by the fact that her singing of 'Azulao' was at his suggestion. He seems to becoming a latter day Gerald Moore in the way that he accompanies so many singers so well in such widely varied repertoire and brings out their best, although I do not know if he posssesses Moore's gifts for explaining the music to the audience. I hope he and Gheorghiu work together again, despite the fact that they are now primarily based at different record companies.The documentation includes an essay by Gheorghiu herself on the songs and how they relate to the joys of her peripatetic existence,as well as full texts and translations. One possible error - I believe they translate a different verse of 'Les Filles du Cadix' than Gheorghiu actually sings. I also like the cover and interior photos of Gheorghiu - they show her as a smart, strong, confident world traveller, not a submissive sex object the way so many other female classical singers appear in their CD booklets. By contrast, the photos of her actually taken at the recording session show her as a complete 'un-diva' in a cartoon character T-shirt.While I am delighted about the many opera recordings, both complete works and solo recitals, that Gheorghiu plans to make over the next several years, I really hope she commits much, much more song literature to disc. It is certainly the best way for her to develop an artistic identity separate from her equally splendid husband Roberto Alagna (although it doesn't take a genius to figure out who 'Je te veux' and 'Be My Love' are aimed at!). For the sheer variety, depth, and skill of her interpretations, she could become the 21st century's equivalent of Victoria De Los Angeles. The first priority is a disc of Romanian songs, and I hope she also records more material from the surrounding area (Hungary, Czechoslavkia, Greece, etc). Based on her performance of 'Canto Negro', I want her to record the entire Montsalvatge cycle - can you IMAGINE what she could do with 'Ninghe, ninghe'? Perhaps more Sephardic songs? Kurt Weill's French songs? 'Les Nuits D'Ete'? 'Sheherezade'? The list is endless and mind boggling."
Sheer Enchantment
Donald A. Newlove | Greenwich Village | 03/25/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I'll be brief. After listening to this CD on and off for nearly a year, I find that the rougher, less interesting moments that came up when I first bought the disk have faded, and that from start to finish I have a new Desert Island Disk to accompany my favorites of years past. Buy it, then give it time to work its magic and for your erotic center to familiarize you to this sexy voice. The same goes just as strongly for Gheorghiu's glorious ARIAS album with Mauceri. This is more quickly taken in but as time passes it is like having Angela's fingers stroking your back. All right, stroking your sympathetic ganglia."
Wonderful Singing But Possibly Lost Soon
Anastasia Charalambakos | 08/22/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This recording contains 25 beautiful works by composers from various regions of the world. Angela Gheorghiu's artistry is excellent. She is not only expressive, but she possesses the ability to demonstrate dynamics without losing control of the breath support. Gheorghiu's ability to crescendo and decrescendo on a given pitch is impressive because her tone stays clear regardless of what she is doing. Respighi's Nebbie is a good example.
Additionally, The short Greek piece shows that Gheorghiu can be rather versitile. Her voice becomes almost one that is not easily recognizable in the lower register. It's almost chest voice singing to me. This is just another of Gheorguiu's amazing abilities.
Her pianist is also excellent. He plays with much sensitivity and is a joy to hear. He has the touch of few gifted accompaniests today.
If you like Gheorghiu, I highly recommend this CD especially since there seem to be only several available copies of the recording out there. I certainly hope that more copies will become available and that this recording will not disappear as some already have in today's market."