Lacking specific dates and session information, the restored analog tapes of arias performed by soprano Annette Celine were likely produced in the 1970s in various locations, though most are studio recordings. While Brana's digital remastering is clean and well-balanced, with almost all tape hiss removed, there are still enough variables in the original reproduction methods and facilities to make this CD problematic for any but the die-hard Celine fan. Her voice is florid and rich, with a hearty tone that seems better-suited to the operatic stage than to the recital hall; her singing of intimate art songs with Felicja Blumental's understated piano accompaniment seems toned-down and constrained, and her interpretations are uneven from one number to the next. Such ups and downs are more noticeable on this compilation than they might have been on separate albums; yet without knowing it's Celine singing all the selections, listeners might mistake her changeable delivery for several singers. Celine's performances of Pergolesi arias with the Rome Radio Symphony Orchestra, under Alberto Zedda, and of Villa-Lobos' Bachianas Brasilieras No. 5 with eight unidentified cellists are odd items for this predominantly voice-and-piano collection; though these pieces give Celine more room to expand, they are musically less rewarding than the songs by Mendelssohn, Strauss, Schoenberg, and Weill, however faultily recorded.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Pirro e Demetrio|
|La Serva Padrona|
|Catone in Utica|
|Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5, A. 389|