The bel canto operas of Gioachino Rossini abound with sparkling coloratura arias, and soprano Aleksandra Kurzak has selected nine examples that highlight this virtuosic style of singing. This CD, Kurzak's second album for Decca, opens with the eponymous aria "Bel raggio lusinghier," from Rossini's Semiramide, and continues with vivacious selections from Guillaume Tell, Tancredi, Matilde di Shabran, Le siège de Corinthe, Il barbiere di Siviglia, Sigismondo, Il turco in Italia, and Elisabetta, regina d'Inghilterra. Kurzak is a leading coloratura soprano, and her ease with runs, leaps, trills, turns, and other melodic embellishments makes this a tour de force of vocal display. Yet these arias are not merely about flashy techniques: the emotions that lead to such florid outbursts of scales and ornaments range from the comic to the dramatic, depending on the characters' variable moods and Rossini's effective scene painting. Kurzak's lively and highly listenable interpretations are sympathetically supported by the Sinfonia Varsova, conducted by Pier Giorgio Morandi. Their credible presence gives each track the big feeling of an operatic scene, and Kurzak's brilliance demonstrates both her charisma and consummate mastery of this art form. Anyone who seeks an appealing introduction to Rossini's music should consider Kurzak an excellent guide.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Matilde di Shabran|
|Le siège de Corinthe|
|Il barbiere di Siviglia|
|Elisabetta, Regina d'Inghilterra|
|Il Turco in Italia|