Marina Rebeka

Mozart: Opera Arias

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Among a host of vocal recitals by up-and-coming artists from the old East Bloc, this one by Latvian soprano Marina Rebeka has a chance of standing out due to the piercing clarity of Rebeka's voice. Rebeka came to general notice with a debut at New York's Metropolitan Opera as Donna Anna in Mozart's Don Giovanni, so perhaps Mozart was a logical choice for a recital. As so often happens, Mozart reveals Rebeka's strengths and weaknesses. The power of her voice and its ability to cut through a room make one want to hear her in repertory of the Italian 19th century. Here she does well with the excerpts from Don Giovanni, and she seems especially comfortable in arias from two earlier Mozart arias, Idomeneo and Die Entführung aus dem Serail, which are all about soprano display. In Le nozze di Figaro, and especially in Dove sono, i bei momenti (track 10), it's evident that Rebeka is not (or not yet) much of an actress, or doesn't really care what she's singing. The results in the Queen of the Night's aria "Zum Leiden bin ich auserkoren" (track 14) from Die Zauberflöte are also less than satisfactory; that aria is supposed to sound unpleasant, and thus to characterize the evil queen, but Rebeka seems to half-smooth it out in an odd way. Nevertheless, when Rebeka is good here, she is very good, and she plainly has a career to watch and a voice to hear. She receives correctly unobtrustive support from the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic orchestra under Speranza Scappucci.

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