Ryan Koftan | 10/30/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The piece Les Contes D' Hoffmann: Les Oiseaux Dans La Charmille has such a delicate, haunting oboe and clarinet - followed by the artist in a soaring aria. I don't know what she's saying, but it's beautiful. Check it out here.
Also on this CD is Il Barbiere Di Siviglia: Una Voce Poco Fa . This was the piece that the prisoner Andy Dufresne played on the prison loudspeaker, for which he got 30 days in the hole (maybe 60?).
Mireille: O Legere Hirondelle was part of the soundtrack for Carlito's Way. It's a duet that reminds me of two birds that challenge each other to greater and greater heights. Absolutely beautiful.
One of the best coloratura sopranos of the 20th century
Steven A. Peterson | Hershey, PA (Born in Kewanee, IL) | 06/17/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am dazzled by this CD. I have listened to quite a few sopranos from the early third of the 20th century, and my evaluation has been quite mixed when they venture into the coloratura repertoire. I am an amateur reviewer of this genre, but I feel comfortable saying that Frieda Hempel can be mentioned in the same breath as Joan Sutherland, Beverly Sills, Sumi Jo, and Natalie Dessay as among the best of the past century. Her singing and technique, simply, are stunning.
These recordings, even more amazing, are acoustic. Hence, the fact that her technique impresses me so much is even more compelling, I think. Here is my response to some of the cuts on this CD.
"Una voce poco fa" is a standard. Hempel sings it well, displaying a rich and smooth voice. The transition across registers is smooth indeed. Nice trills (some vary in quality, but the recording quality sometimes makes it hard to know how well she is doing), great staccato notes. This is a splendid rendition, with a really good final high note.
She does well with the treacherous Queen of the Night works from "Die Zauberflute." In "Zum Leiden," we experience a well sung version. There is nice transition across registers. Terrific staccato singing and a wonderful high note to close it out. A major league version. And then there is "Der Halle Roche." Yikes! I get tingles listening to this. This is a great challenge to any soprano. She exhibits great command; her staccato singing is wonderful. Simply, I am blown away listening to this. Her high notes are impeccably hit. This is one of the better renditions that I have ever heard.
"Ardon gl'incensi" is also well sung. She shows off a smooth, rich, agile voice. The Wikipedia defines "Fioritura" as "flowery, embellished vocal line found in many arias from nineteenth-century opera." That well describes this work. Nice staccato notes; wonderful high note to close this out. Excellent version.
Adam's "Ah, vous dirais je-maman" can only be described as splendid. There are other versions out there, but this is stunning. Great staccato notes; fine command of a difficult work. Very agile. Hits higher notes most nicely.
Then, there is Strauss' "Wine, Women, and Song." Great fun and well sung. This is an infectious version. She displays great agility and wonderful staccato notes. There is an occasional harshness, but not a real problem. She closes this out with a wonderful high note.
As earlier noted, this CD is wonderful. Frieda Hempel can be rated as one of the finest coloratura sopranos of the 20th century as far as I am concerned. I enjoyed her excellent technique and the excitement created by her singing. This is well worth listening to and acquiring!