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Great Operatic Arias - Christine Brewer, Vol 2 / Parry, London PO


Release Date: 03/31/2009 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 3159   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Gian Carlo MenottiRichard RodgersWolfgang Amadeus MozartChristoph W. Gluck,   ... 
Performer:  Christine BrewerJudith HowarthTimothy Robinson
Conductor:  David Parry
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic OrchestraPhilharmonia Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 11 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is the second volume of soprano Christine Brewer's arias in English for Chandos. I thought the first one (type Q9665 in Search Reviews) was remarkable in its security, breadth, and commitment, not to mention sheer tone, and I feel the same about this one, but it isn't quite as riveting a listen.

You cannot argue with Brewer as Beethoven's Leonore (taken from the complete recording on Chandos, by the way); it is a perfect performance, filled with nuance, with a veritable flood of rock-solid tone at every register and fine diction (as it is throughout this recital). Nor can you fault the two Alceste arias, which have the stature and grandeur the character deserves.

An aria from Rodelinda is likewise
Read more successful, but here you begin to realize that the sound is simply too plush for the role and the accompaniments; Brewer is in danger of overpowering the orchestra. I began to feel amazed each time she succeeded at a particularly lightweight phrase when I should have been taking it all for granted. Similarly, though the intent is there, the Countess in Figaro, like Elisabeth in Tannhäuser, should not sound quite as mature as Brewer does. Oddly, her Elsa fares better, though the character is also young; Brewer's piano singing is touching and lovely and the fact that she always seems so emotionally available is a great plus throughout.

Brewer almost overwhelms us with her desperation in Magda's aria from Menotti's The Consul--as we feel more and more ignored by large corporations and continue to "press star for more options", invariably getting nowhere, Magda's plight takes on more and more meaning. Marietta's Lied, here sung (correctly) as a duet (with tenor Timothy Robinson), is simply ravishing. Ellen Orford's aria needs more fragility, and Brewer is awkward in the duet from The Land of Smiles; but her "Climb ev'ry mountain" almost made me cry.

I realize that my complaints are odd--too much natural voice? How absurd!; but an hour and 10 minutes of Brewer is like an entire room wallpapered and carpeted in red velvet--maybe not that bad a thing, but somewhat awe-inspiring when a lighter touch is required. Maybe Chandos will give us a(nother) English-language Ring?

David Parry leads the London Philharmonic with a sensitive ear toward each character and Brewer's unique, geyser-like sound. Highly recommended despite peculiar reservations.

--Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
The Consul: To this we've come by Gian Carlo Menotti
Performer:  Christine Brewer (Soprano)
Conductor:  David Parry
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1949; USA 
Length: 7 Minutes 14 Secs. 
2.
The Sound of Music: Climb ev'ry mountain by Richard Rodgers
Performer:  Christine Brewer (Soprano)
Conductor:  David Parry
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra,  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 3 Minutes 12 Secs. 
3.
Le nozze di Figaro, K 492: Porgi, amor, qualche ristoro by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Christine Brewer (Soprano)
Conductor:  David Parry
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 3 Minutes 55 Secs. 
4.
Le nozze di Figaro, K 492: Sull' aria...Che soave zeffiretto by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Judith Howarth (Soprano), Christine Brewer (Soprano)
Conductor:  David Parry
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 3 Minutes 55 Secs. 
5.
Alceste: Where am I? by Christoph W. Gluck
Performer:  Christine Brewer (Soprano)
Conductor:  David Parry
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1767; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 4 Minutes 58 Secs. 
6.
Tannhäuser: Allmächt'ge Jungfrau "Elisabeth's Prayer" by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Christine Brewer (Soprano)
Conductor:  David Parry
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1845/1861; Germany 
Length: 4 Minutes 38 Secs. 
7.
Peter Grimes, Op. 33: Embroidery in childhood by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Christine Brewer (Soprano)
Conductor:  David Parry
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
Length: 4 Minutes 10 Secs. 
8.
Fidelio, Op. 72: Abscheulicher!...Komm, Hoffnung by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Christine Brewer (Soprano)
Conductor:  David Parry
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: Vienna, Austria 
Length: 7 Minutes 14 Secs. 
9.
Rodelinda, HWV 19: Se 'l mio duol non è si forte by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Christine Brewer (Soprano)
Conductor:  David Parry
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1725; London, England 
Length: 5 Minutes 58 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Sung in English as "If my pain, my bitter sighing." 
10.
Alceste: Grands Dieux! du destin qui m'accable by Christoph W. Gluck
Performer:  Christine Brewer (Soprano)
Conductor:  David Parry
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1767; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 4 Minutes 0 Secs. 
11.
Lohengrin: Einsam in trüben Tagen "Elsa's dream" by Richard Wagner
Performer:  Christine Brewer (Soprano)
Conductor:  David Parry
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1847; Germany 
Length: 7 Minutes 49 Secs. 
12.
Die tote Stadt, Op. 12: Glück, das mir verblieb "Mariettalied" by Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Performer:  Timothy Robinson (Tenor), Christine Brewer (Soprano)
Conductor:  David Parry
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1920; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 5 Minutes 18 Secs. 
13.
Zigeunermelodien (7), Op. 55: no 4, Als die alte Mutter by Antonín Dvorák
Performer:  Christine Brewer (Soprano)
Conductor:  David Parry
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880; Bohemia 
Length: 2 Minutes 21 Secs. 
14.
Das Land des Lächelns: Wer hat die Liebe uns ins Herz by Franz Lehár
Performer:  Timothy Robinson (Tenor), Christine Brewer (Soprano)
Conductor:  David Parry
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1929; Vienna, Austria 
Length: 4 Minutes 40 Secs. 

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