"Ruth Ann Swenson possesses one of the most beautiful voices that you will ever hear. Close your eyes and imagine a silvery coloratura voice capable of great sweetness and purity of tone. Now imagine that sound intermingled with a rich, opulent tone color like spun gold. That's Swenson! This disc shows her off at her best. She handles the fleet passagework and tricky cadenzas of "Ombre legere" with graceful ease. "Adieu, mon doux rivage" is sung with gleaming tone and a moving sense of longing. Swenson is an impeccable singer and she brings emotional involvement into everything that she does. A truly remarkable singer. Don't miss her in this beautiful bel canto repertoire, a perfect showcase for her immaculate voice."
sstadler | 06/08/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first heard Ruth Ann Swenson when she was in the Merola Opera Program at SFO, saw and heard her on several occasions that year and have followed her career with interest since then. This album showcases the beauty and perfection of Miss Swenson's voice, and immediately became one of my most favorite coloratura soprano arias recordings."
It's only showbiz, but she is real good at it!
DJ Rix | NJ USA | 12/01/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Ruth Ann Swenson is like Michael Jordan - a supremely gifted & disciplined athlete, & also a freak of nature. The great basketball player shatters the backboard, the colortura soprano shatters the wine glass. Composers use the colortura aria to show off a certain kind of composing that requires an unreal voice. It's strictly showbiz. Conveying a character - that demonstration of peculiar, exaggerated emotions many opera fans call "acting" - is completely optional. So just crank up the volume, sit back, & let Ms. Swenson raise goosebumps on your neck. That's the job Gounod, Bellini, Donizetti & Meyerbeer gave her to do. & boy, does she do it swell!"
A nice introduction to Ruth Ann Swenson
Steven A. Peterson | Hershey, PA (Born in Kewanee, IL) | 02/09/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Ruth Ann Swenson takes on some standard coloratura roles from Bellini and Donizetti and then some examplars from the French repertoire (Gounod and Meyerbeer). In this CD, we see a number of examples of the standard technique of Bellini and Donizetti, with a cabaletta following a slower work. As the Wikipedia puts it: The cabaletta is a "form of aria within 19th century Italian opera. It usually refers specifically to the second half of a double aria: a faster or more rhythmic movement following a cantabile section. . . . Classic examples include "Vien diletto, è in ciel la luna" from I Puritani by Bellini (1835). . . ."
Some samples of her style from this CD. In Donizetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor," we are treated to Swenson's version of "Regnava nel silenzio. . .Quanto rapito in estasi." Hers is a somewhat darker, heavier voice than that of Dessay or Sills (more similar to Netrebko and Callas in that regard). Still the voice is agile; her trill technique is adequate but not noteworthy. In the cabaletta, she shows agility and her florid technique is fine. She is able to hit the higher notes well. In the repeat of "Quanto rapito in estasi," she is fine, but not at the level of top coloraturas such as Dessay or Sills or Sutherland.
Bellini's "I Puritani" features the standard cantabile-cabaletta structure as per the Wikipedia's description above, "Qui la voce. . .Vien, diletto." Classic coloratura territory. In the first part, she shows a nice smoothly sung line. In the cabaletta, she hits the high notes cleanly, Her florid technique is fine but not exciting. Her trills are adequate but not wonderful. In the repeat, her ornamentation moves up a jot. All in all, a competently done--but not exciting--version.
From Bellini's "La Sonnambula," we have "A ti deletta. . .Sovra il sen." Again, Swenson does a technically sound version. There is a very nice trill early on. She floats some higher notes very well. The cabaletta is fine, her florid technique is good, she shows off in this cut a nice trill, and she closes out with a well executed high note.
All in all, Ruth Ann Swenson comes off as a good coloratura soprano with fine technique. She lacks some of the firepower and technique of the top performers, but this is a nice CD in the final analysis.