Smorgy | Southern California, USA | 05/11/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Frau Kasarova is a vivid story teller. She has an expressive voice of many colors and she isn't shy about using them to accentuate these difficult Mozart arias. Hers is a rather quirky voice... I find it mesmerizingly erotic and exotic...tho perhaps not as 'conventionally' beautiful like Kozena's or Graham's. She has a full mature burgandy colored voice that's clarinet-ish. Ringing top that has no trouble hitting high C, and a more masculine bottom. It is the mixed middle that is positively seductively rich. The whole range is seamlessly integrated but not always presented as such (she has a way of making her register breaks a very effective interpretation tool).
Anyway, there is never any doubt what the essence of each aria is... what the character she is portraying is feeling. She seems more concern with communicating the characters' motivations than sounding beautiful. I love that... others who enjoy technically flawless (even at the expense of drama) singing may not like it. This singer is very dramatically involve and doesn't make good "relaxing background music."
She is especially great with the castrato arias from Mitridate, Idomeneo, and La clemenza di Tito (both as Sesto and as Vitellia!). What wicked mania in Farnace's scornful laugh in 'Venga pur'! The coldness of her second pass at "L'ira sua mi rendera" sends chill down my spine. And Farnace's real reversal and penitent is heard in his 'Gia dagli il velo'. To say that her Zerlina is sensual is an understatement! And her Sesto's 'Deh, per questo istante solo' is so emotionally revealing. Beautiful pianissimo contrasted by blasted forte that would move the stoniest heart! She is one of the best Sesto ever on stage (both vocally and theatrically), but her 'Non piu di fiori' is so marvellously done that I dream of hearing her take on Vitellia (She does have the high D...as a direct and lingering hit on it is caught on tape in her Rossini Arias & Duets CD). But perhaps not... an instrument like this should be protected from such treacherous tessitura. Better not kill the goose who lays golden eggs.
I'd never expect such a forcefully pinging top from a deep mezzo (amazing chest register...and just about the most agile coloratura voice around.. she sings ALL the notes!). This gal is a force of nature! Her closing concert aria 'Io ti lascio' is a study in legato singing, too. And regardless of the libretto (Pensa che a te non lice il ricordarsi di me), this is one singer you'd find very hard to not remember.
The orchestra is conducted superbly by Sir Colin Davis. The pace always seem just right and he is just as attentive to the musical nuances as his mezzo is. A great team! I only wish she had included a few duets as well... in place of the 2 orchestral interludes from Idomeneo and La clemenza di Tito"
Dame La Vesselina
Dennis Figueroa | Orange County, CA | 03/24/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Not being a house-hold name in opera, Vesselina Kasarova astounds at why she is not. Listening to her sing is the best argument why she should be.
For a diva interpreting male roles, she shows how it should be done: with bravado and passion. Her voice is rich, powerful, and versatile in seizing an aria, and giving it life and soul. Her singing leaps between the mezzo and contralto ranges, flies in imaginative energy, and quickly transfixes on the stage. Her style brings to opera a flamboyant blend of baroque cabaret, high theater, and irresistible drama. Not only she hits the right notes, but also the right dramatic cords in the music. In "Venga Pur Minacci e Frema", she does not pull any stops, and wields her singing in anger, angst, and resolve at a palette of vocal range that is colorful as complex. And on a snap, she can transform the strionics of singing in allegro into the reflective and tragic tones of the adagios...just an amazing artist and talent!
One of the most exciting voices of our times
Birgit | Austria | 11/30/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Vesselina Kasarova has one of the most exciting and expressive mezzo-soprano voices of our times. Particularly unparalleled are her excellent performances of Elvira, Idamante, and Vitellia on this disc (as is her version of the concert aria "Io ti lascio, o cara, addio".)! Only concerning the more lyrical arias on this recording (Dorabella, Cherubino, Zerlina) could I think of better alternatives (e.g. Angelika Kirchschlager, Cecilia Bartoli,- or Ruth Ziesak's angelic soprano)."