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on January 9, 2012 (January 9, 2012)
Aleksandra Kurzak, Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana, Omer Meir Wellber
Polish soprano Aleksandra Kurzak is the real and dazzling deal. Her choice of repertoire for Gioia! may be on the conventional side, but if she invites comparison with the greats, she well and truly lives up to it, with performances whose technical brilliance is matched by stylish, sensitive artistry.
The arias here represent some of the mainstays of Kurzak’s career – Violetta, Lucia, Susanna and so on – and her mastery of them is thrillingly apparent. Flawless coloratura and silvery
top notes are underpinned by a timbre of surprising warmth and depth, and by a vivid and versatile vocal presence.
She’s remarkably good at teenagers and coquettes, but a full-blooded and ferociously well-sung rendition of Violetta’s Act I aria proves they’re far from the limit of her talents, and as Musetta and Lauretta, she manages Puccini’s lyrical legatos as perfectly as any of the fireworks.
Having aced all these repertoire favourites, Kurzak concludes with a rare treat from her native land: an aria from Moniuszko’s The Haunted Manor, sung with radiant beauty. Omer Meir Wellber’s leadership of the Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana is strong and dramatically astute, but the laurels here belong overwhelmingly to Kurzak. A sensational début.