Great overview of Bori's body of work
Steven A. Peterson | Hershey, PA (Born in Kewanee, IL) | 11/08/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Lucrezia Bori was a fine soprano from the early part of the century. Born in 1887, she made her operatic debut in Rome in 1908. From there, her career ascended, with the high point, perhaps, being her reign at the Metropolitan Opera Company from 1912 to 1936. This 2 CD set does a nice job of exploring the range of her singing, from songs to opera.
The first CD has 17 cuts (all from the realm of opera); the second CD has 26 cuts, mostly songs. Let's sample a few of these to provide a sense of her art and craft.
From Puccini's "La Boheme," "Si, mi chiamano Mimi." Recorded in 1926. She displays a smooth soprano voice. This is an affecting version of this aria; she seems to capture Mimi's character in a poignant rendering of this work.
From the same opera, "Quando m'en vo," recorded in 1927. As Musetta, she comes across, well, too. Once more, one hears a very nice voice. I'd wish for a bit more insouciance, though, in the manner of singing; this is not as spirited a version as I would prefer. However, her version is quite musical. There were occasional affectations (little cries or catches), but not an issue. There is a nice closeout.
From Verdi's "La Traviata," "E strano. . .Sempre libera." Recorded in 1928. Well sung. She seems to understand the character of the doomed Violetta. The sections of this piece flow together nicely. Just before moving into the final segment, there is some magic at "croce delizia" (Hope I didn't misspell that). I would have wished for "Sempre libera" to feature some embellishment and to display more vocal techniques. Some sopranos embellish this with florid techniques to good effect (it fits the character as she sings "Sempre libera"). This is a rather vanilla version (although that may have been the way this was sung in the earlier part of the 20th century).
Strauss, "Tales from the Vienna Woods." (1927). Strauss waltzes can be fine vehicles to display the soprano voice. This is an animated version. Bori shows some vocal agility and--here and there--some nice embellishments. Quite a bit of fun to listen to!
"Malaguena." (1928). I'd hoped that this was the version of the song that I heard when I was a kid. It's not, but it is--nonetheless--enjoyable. It's a nice change of pace, as are other songs, from the operatic pieces on CD # 1.
So, this is a great introduction to Lucrezia Bori. Want to know her singing? This is the place to start.