William S. Levison | Valdosta, GA United States | 02/21/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ewa Podles is a rarity: a true contralto with thrilling high and low notes, not to mention everything in between. Unlike Horne, whose lower register occasionally sounds baritonal, Podles is feminine throughout her estimable range. This recording of 18th-century arias exploits every aspect of this wonderful artist, including firm, beautiful tone and awesome coloratura. All of the selections, from the familiar Purcell and Gluck to the less recognizable arias from Vivaldi, Handel, and Marcello, are sung with brio and/or firm legato. Excellent period accompaniment by Patrick Peire and the Collegium Instrumental de Bruges."
An amazing, one-of-a-kind voice
mzdunn | Hornell, NY USA | 05/18/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I had to the fortuitous good luck to see this wondrous singer in recital a few years ago. I sat in the front row, hardly breathing, as this contralto sang Chopin, Mussourgsky ("Songs and Dances of Death", I think? The varieties of ominous menace she emoted swept over the recital hall powerfully), Rachmaninoff, and finally Rossini for an encore (even more amazing for her coloratura abilities and brilliant high notes). Having been a vocal major and always a singer and opera/voice fanatic, I have heard many many great voices, but nothing approaches a voice like Podles. Her singing is truly one-of-a-kind, evoking a long-ago mysterious golden age of uninhibited singing from the core. She has been somewhat of an underdog in the opera world, and has only lately (within the last five or so years) been receiving the recognition and rave reviews she deserves. As for her handling of Handel et al, I listened to a few excerpts while browsing through Borders, and her artistry is once more confirmed and highlighted. This woman is a marvel and can do anything. Put away your Horne and Bartoli (oranges and apples of different though equal artistries in their own right), and slip a Podles disc into the stereo."
nicngu | 07/02/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Thank you to Forlane for giving us a chance of sampling Podles's formidable Rinaldo... Her voice has darken further since this recording and her account of this role is nowadays even more exciting ! Unfortunately, although she toured Europe to great acclaim with this role for several performances under Hogwood (and opposite Bartoli's Almirena), the record company replaced her with countertenor David Daniels for the recording that followed (not out yet)... Podles's big voice was probably to difficult to record for the "Oiseau Lyre" people, huh ? So, since we will now probably never get a recording of the full score with Podles, go for this CD !"