Dmitri Hvorostovsky / Sondra Radvanovsky / Constantine Orbelian / Philharmonia of Russia

Verdi: Opera Scenes

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This recording features two of the great Verdi singers of the early 21st century: baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky and soprano Sondra Radvanovsky. The live recital, recorded in 2008, is advertised as Verdi Opera Scenes, but of the seven tracks, there are only three that feature both singers, and there are three with solo encores by other composers. The ambience in Great Hall of the Moscow Conservatory is far kinder to Hvorostovsky than to Radvanovsky, or perhaps the discrepancy between them is due to miking or engineering problems. His voice comes across as warm, full-bodied, and enveloping, but hers sounds overly bright with something of an edge, and sometimes, when they are singing together, almost a halo of a buzz. In her solos, the sound of Radvanovsky's voice is more appealing, but even here her timbre is less full, rich, and warm than on her 2010 recital of Verdi arias for Delos. The playing of the Philharmonia of Russia, conducted by Constantine Orbelian, is workmanlike and accurate, but lacks spirit. Those things being said, it is still evident that these are two expert Verdi singers, expressive and intelligent, with the vocal resources the composer requires, who deserve better circumstances for demonstrating what they're capable of.

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