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Cheryl Barker Sings Great Operatic Arias


Release Date: 09/29/2009 
Label:  Chandos   Catalog #: 3161   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Francesco CilèaPeter Ilyich TchaikovskyRuggero LeoncavalloArrigo Boito,   ... 
Performer:  Cheryl BarkerGillian KeithWilliam Dazeley
Conductor:  David Parry
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
CD not available: This title is currently only available as an MP3 download.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Chandos can be proud with this latest addition to their Opera in English series.

Australian-born soprano Cheryl Barker has a busy career in both Australia and Europe and she has recorded extensively for Chandos. Until this recital disc arrived I hadn’t heard her and the first track, Adriana’s aria from Adriana Lecouvreur at once revealed that the loss definitely was mine. Here was a nuanced, well equalized voice with a natural vibrancy of the kind that announces a singer with spinto quality. A Renata Tebaldi voice, if you like. The second aria from the opera is deeply intense. Lisa’s aria from The Queen of Spades also sound tonally idiomatic and dramatically well conceived. Especially in Lisa’s arioso
Read more she depicts the vulnerability, so prominent in many of Tchaikovsky’s female characters. Nedda’s aria from Pagliacci, with its colourful orchestration, is sung with ever-increasing intensity and is followed by the long duet with Silvio. This has always been one of my favourite excerpts from this opera, ever since I heard it with Callas and Panerai. William Dazeley sounds as youthful as Panerai did and is superb in Then will you say why you have enslaved me. And Cheryl Barker sings with silvery beauty in her following solo as well as when they sing in unison. Lovely!

Marguerita’s death from Mephistopheles brings us back to Tebaldi repertoire. Cheryl Barker may not have the creamy tone of Tebaldi but she has the necessary chest-notes and the power, enabling her to give Catalani’s La Wally aria a thrilling dramatic climax.

Jake Heggie’s music for the Graham Greene-based The End of the Affair is fascinating and accessible and Cheryl Barker makes a good case for the opera, in which she sang Sarah at the world premiere. The other contemporary composer, Malcolm Williamson is also well represented with Berthe’s aria from The Violins of Saint-Jacques, the main melody of which has a true romantic cantilena, something between Richard Strauss and Elgar. Superb singing.

‘ Real’ Strauss, finally, in two duets from Arabella. The first one is probably the most famous part from the opera, with the voices of the two sisters soaring so beautifully. I first got to know the duet through a recording with the original Arabella and Zdenka, Viorica Ursuleac and Margit Bokor, recorded shortly after the premiere in Dresden 1933. Cheryl Barker and Gillian Keith have nothing to fear from a comparison and their voices are sufficiently different in timbre to make them a finely contrasting couple, while they blend well in the concluding unison singing.

The final duet between Arabella and Mandryka is a suitable end to this programme - and with glorious singing. Singers like Lisa Della Casa and Kiri Te Kanawa, not to mention Elisabeth Schwarzkopf may have invested this music with more creamy sounds and greater lyricism but Cheryl Barker’s is still a worthy reading and William Dazeley is again splendid.

Excellent recording, premium playing from the LPO under the experienced David Parry, and good notes add to the pleasure of the issue and there are several photographs from the recording sessions. Chandos can be proud with this latest addition to their Opera in English series.

-- Göran Forsling, MusicWeb International 
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Works on This Recording

1. Adriana Lecouvreur: See now, I am exhausted... / I am the humble servant of God's immortal art by Francesco Cilèa
Performer:  Cheryl Barker (Soprano)
Conductor:  David Parry
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1902; Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 19 Secs. 
Notes: Librettist: Arturo Colautti. 
2. Queen of Spades, Op. 68: You need not close the windows just yet...Oh why am I so tearful by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Cheryl Barker (Soprano), Gillian Keith (Soprano)
Conductor:  David Parry
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Length: 4 Minutes 54 Secs. 
Notes: Librettists: Modest Tchaikovsky; Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. 
3. I Pagliacci: Qual fiamma avea nel guardo by Ruggero Leoncavallo
Performer:  Cheryl Barker (Soprano)
Conductor:  David Parry
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Italy 
Length: 4 Minutes 58 Secs. 
Notes: Librettist: Ruggero Leoncavallo. 
4. I Pagliacci: E allor perchè? by Ruggero Leoncavallo
Performer:  Cheryl Barker (Soprano), William Dazeley (Baritone)
Conductor:  David Parry
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Italy 
Length: 11 Minutes 40 Secs. 
Notes: Librettist: Ruggero Leoncavallo. 
5. Mephistopheles: To the moonlit waves they cast him by Arrigo Boito
Performer:  Cheryl Barker (Soprano)
Conductor:  David Parry
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1868; Italy 
Length: 6 Minutes 2 Secs. 
Notes: Librettist: Arrigo Boito. 
6. The End of the Affair: Nineteen forty-four. March. May. June by Jake Heggie
Performer:  William Dazeley (Baritone), Cheryl Barker (Soprano)
Conductor:  David Parry
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 6 Minutes 40 Secs. 
Notes: Librettist: Heather McDonald. 
7. Queen of Spades, Op. 68: Midnight is nearing (Lisa's Aria) by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Performer:  Cheryl Barker (Soprano)
Conductor:  David Parry
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1890; Russia 
Length: 5 Minutes 16 Secs. 
Notes: Librettists: Modest Tchaikovsky; Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. 
8. Arabella, Op. 79: He's not the one who is right for me / The one who's right for me by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Cheryl Barker (Soprano), Gillian Keith (Soprano)
Conductor:  David Parry
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Length: 6 Minutes 24 Secs. 
Notes: Librettist: Hugo von Hofmannsthal. 
9. Adriana Lecouvreur: Poveri fiori by Francesco Cilèa
Performer:  Cheryl Barker (Soprano)
Conductor:  David Parry
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1902; Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 28 Secs. 
Notes: Librettist: Arturo Colautti. 
10. The Violins of Saint-Jacques: How can I explain to you by Malcolm Williamson
Performer:  Cheryl Barker (Soprano)
Conductor:  David Parry
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 4 Minutes 18 Secs. 
Notes: Librettist: William Chappell. 
11. La Wally: I'll float into the distance by Alfredo Catalani
Performer:  Cheryl Barker (Soprano)
Conductor:  David Parry
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 53 Secs. 
Notes: Librettist: Luigi Illica. 
12. Arabella: I'm very glad, Mandryka by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Cheryl Barker (Soprano), William Dazeley (Baritone)
Conductor:  David Parry
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1929-1932; Germany 
Length: 7 Minutes 43 Secs. 
Notes: Librettist: Hugo von Hofmannsthal. 

Sound Samples

Adriana Lecouvreur: Vedi ora, sono esauriti (Sung in English)
The Queen of Spades, Op. 68: Act I: You need not close the windows just yet
Pagliacci: Act I: Stridono lassu, liberamente
Pagliacci: Act I: Nedda! ... Silvio! A quest'ora che imprudenza!
Mefistofele: Act IV: The Night of the Classical Sabbath: La luna immobile innonda (Sung in English)
The End of the Affair: A Bargain and a Prayer
The Queen of Spades, Op. 68: Act III: It's nearly midnight now
Arabella, Op. 79, TrV 263: Act I: Er ist der Richtige nicht fur mich (Sung in English)
Adriana Lecouvreur: Act IV: Poveri fiori ... (Sung in English)
The Violins of Saint-Jacques: How can I explain to you
La Wally: Act I: Ebben? Ne andro lontana (Sung in English)
Arabella, Op. 79, TrV 263: Act III: Das war sehr gut, Mandryka (Sung in English)

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