"My favourite Kiri Te Kanawa CD...sensitive, beautiful and breath taking...typical Kiri! Especially her rendition of Ach ich fuhls. Just gorgeous."
"the most exquisite rose"
Mr John Haueisen | WORTHINGTON, OHIO United States | 07/23/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Whether you love the voice and outstanding singing ability of Kiri Te Kanawa, or if you just love beautiful opera music very well-sung, you will be dazzled by this album.
I didn't know Kiri had ever sung Wagner. Her "Dich, teure Halle" from Tannhauser surpasses any of the great opera divas I've ever heard perform it.
Her singing, and the excellent orchestral music here have made me want to go out and buy my first copy of Strauss' "Daphne," and also Korngold's "Die tote Stadt." The music here is just that inspiring.
For me, the biggest highlight on this CD was Kiri's performance of Strauss' "Es gibt ein Reich" from Ariadne auf Naxos. For those of you familiar with this, hearing Kiri's "Du wirst mich befreien" is like watching the most exquisite rose you can imagine, burst into glorious bloom. It's never been sung better!
Dame Kiri still at her best
Ralph Moore | Bishop's Stortford, UK | 09/27/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Despite the relatively late date of this recital, recorded in late 1996 and early 1997, we find Kiri Te Kanawa's voice still in excellent condition; the top notes pure and plangent, the lower register, following her earlier work on strengthening it after some criticism, capable of doing justice to "Totenreich" in the "Ariadne" aria. As always with Dame Kiri, there is some hoarseness and discoloration on the "ee" vowel in the middle of the voice and there is perhaps some very slight loosening of the vibrato (ignore the complaint of "Lost way Ludwig" in the Spanish review), but neither of these things in any way spoils my enjoyment or admiration; this is as good a recital as Deborah Voigt's "Obsessions"(see my review) and ample proof of Dame Kiri's versatility. There is no question whether she can do justice to the Wagner arias: the voice soars as it should and makes me wonder why she didn't take on more Wagner on stage. In any case, perhaps that was wise, as she has preserved her voice wonderfully and, like Renee Fleming, found her true love and metier in Richard Strauss, whose music was made for just such a voice as hers - which also explains why Fleming has inherited her mantle as today's pre-eminent Strauss lyric soprano, singing the same roles which Te Tanawa essays here.
Some complain that both Te Kanawa and Fleming are too careful in their singing; with both singers I simply hear scrupulous musicianship and care for the beauty of line. As much as I enjoy the Weber and the Wagner, the Strauss arias are the glory of this set, particularly the rapturous apotheosis of Daphne which forms the concluding scene of the opera. The orchestral playing here is as beautiful as the singing; indeed the Philharmonia play divinely under Julius Rudel. The recital ends with a glorious account of Korngold's famous "Glueck, das mir verblieb", sung as serenely and beguilingly as any singer before or since. Not just for Te Kanawa's fans, this disc is a great survey of German opera over a hundred and fifty years."
Good Stuff | 03/01/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The repertoire presented here is not the friendliest of territories for the mere mortal soprano. But no one ever accused Kiri te Kanawa of being merely mortal.
This set presents Dame Kiri in the late nineties, when, in my opinion, she was just coming over the edge of what had been a remarkable ten years or so of singing at her Olympian best. There is an almost imperceptible widening of her vibrato here when the voice is under pressure, as it occasionally is in several of these pieces. And the absolute highest notes require her to conjure up a bit more technique than might have been needed in the not-so-distant past. But, of course, that's what vocal technique is for.
The "Agyptische Helena" and "Daphne" bits, in particular, both murderously difficult, are probably the most challenging in this recital. Dame Kiri sings every single note Mr. Strauss demands of her - yes, actually SINGS every note - as written. That she has to work a little harder for them than she would have in the past does not in any way tarnish her accomplishment.
But fine though she is in these and the rest of the selections here, I find myself wondering how she would have done with them, say, just five years earlier.
An unfair question? Of course. The opera world is privileged far too seldom these days to have a talent of Dame Kiri's caliber amongst us.
I, for one, am quite grateful for the years of incomparable artistry Kiri te Kanawa has brought into the life of this mere mortal. "