Lise Davidsen / Esa-Pekka Salonen / Philharmonia Orchestra

Lise Davidsen

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Young soprano Lise Davidsen has had major operatic appearances and has released albums for Dacapo and BIS. However, this self-titled album on Decca is being billed as her solo debut, and it is indeed an ambitious statement that lives up to the considerable buzz around this singer. For a dramatic soprano, her voice is on the small side; she isn't going to put anyone in mind of Kirsten Flagstad. It is, nonetheless, a thing of a thousand shades, with smooth duration and incredible breath control more than replacing power. There's an attractive bit of roughness in her vocal timbre, rare in one so young, and rarer still used with such control. The mix of operatic and art song material here is ideal for Davidsen's voice. She makes a seamless transition between the Wagner and Strauss operatic excerpts at the beginning and the popular Vier Lieder, Op. 27. You could dip in anywhere for samples, but the Vier letzte Lieder are really outstanding. If you listen to the last one, Im Abendrot, in some nostalgic place where the sun is going down, you're going to have a peak experience. Again, singers Davidsen's age are not supposed to grasp these songs to this extent. Much of the credit goes to Esa-Pekka Salonen leading the Philharmonia Orchestra; he is low-key but subtly aware of everything that is going on. Highly recommended.

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