★★★★☆

Fresh from her triumphant Lucia, German diva Diana Damrau stays in Donizetti territory for her latest solo album, mixed up with some Bellini, Verdi and a couple of verismo numbers for good measure. The 43 year-old has established a glowing reputation in Europe and at New York’s Met where she has become a firm favourite. This collection shows us why.

Damrau’s versatility is firmly to the fore in excerpts from Donizetti’s Rosmonda d’Inghliterra and Maria Stuarda, intercut by arias from Bellini’s I Puritani and La Sonnambula, before her applauded dramatic skills are given a workout in selections from Verdi’s I Masnadieri, La Traviata and Luisa Miller. Her vocal accuracy and agility are no better displayed than in Ah! Non giunge from La Sonnambula, but it is what she does with Verdi – and favourites from La Bohème and Pagliacci – which whet the appetite of this reviewer.

This is a voice full of power and beauty across the entire range, but with the additional character and buoyancy necessary for the bel canto repertoire. Damrau gets strong support from mezzo Nicole Brandolino, tenor Piotr Beczała and her husband bass Nicolas Testé. The Orchestra Teatro Regio Torino under Gianandrea Noseda has all this material encoded in its DNA but still manages to make it sound fresh and vital.

Download this Album