Diana Damrau

COLORaturaS: Opera Arias

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German lyric coloratura soprano Diana Damrau has taken the operatic world by storm since the early years of the new century, excelling in a wide variety of roles, from the Queen of the Night to Pamina, as well as in new works like Maazel's 1984. Besides having a formidable range and agility, she brings sharply defined characterizations to her roles. The arias she selected for the 2010 album COLORaturaS include some standards, as well as some less likely to appear on albums that so boldly proclaim the showiness of their repertoire, but all are hugely demanding pieces that highlight her musical and dramatic versatility. This collection, though, doesn't always catch Damrau in consistently top form. There are points where her intonation is distressingly approximate, particularly in trills, most noticeably in the final trill in Caro nome. Perhaps it is a fault of microphone placement, but her intakes of breath throughout the album are loudly audible and distracting. It's perhaps the recording, too, that heightens the percussive attack of certain consonants. The most successful tracks include "Grossmächtige Prinzessin" from Ariadne auf Naxos, "O mio bambino caro," "O luce di quest'anima" from Linda di Chamounix, and Oscar's two arias from Un ballo in maschera, and Ophélie's mad scene from Hamlet, which fully convey the assurance and brilliance for which Damrau is known. Dan Ettinger leads Münchner Rundfunkorchester in a dutiful accompaniment.

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