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Great Singers Of The 20th Century Vol. 1 - Benita Valente

Valente, Benita
Release Date: 12/08/2009 
Label:  Bridge   Catalog #: 9316  
Composer:  Wolfgang Amadeus MozartGeorge Frideric HandelFranz Schubert
Performer:  Benita ValenteRichard GoodeHarold WrightRudolf Serkin
Conductor:  David EffronAlexander Schneider
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Eastman PhilharmoniaMinneapolis Festival Concert Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

BENITA VALENTE—GREAT SINGERS OF THE 20TH CENTURY, VOL. 1 Benita Valente (sop); Various accompaniments BRIDGE 9316 (69:01 Text and Translation)

MOZART Un moto di gioia. Le Nozze di Figaro: Deh Vieni, non tardar. Vorrei Spiegarvi o Dio. HANDEL Rinaldo: Lascia ch’io pianga. Read more class="COMPOSER12">SCHUBERT Heidenröslein. Nacht und Träume. Rastlose Liebe. Der Hirt auf dem Felsen. BRAHMS Meine Liebe is Grün. Vergebliches Ständchen. WOLF Auch kleine Dinge. Mir ward gesagt. Wer rief dich denn? Du denkst mit einem Fädchen. Wie lang schon. Ihr jungen Leute. Mein Liebster singt. Ich hab’in Penna einem Liebsten wohnen. DEBUSSY Il pleur dans mon coeur. Chevaux de bois. Aquarelles I. Green. Aquarelles II. Spleen. OBRADORS All Amor. Con amores la mi madre. Del Cabello mas sutil. Chiquitita la novia

The rarely recorded Benita Valente won the Metropolitan Auditions in 1960, and two years later made her operatic debut in Freiburg, Germany, as Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, a role she sang almost 100 times. It was the role in which she debuted at the Metropolitan. At the Met she was featured in the broadcast of Falstaff in 1975 as Nannetta; she also sang Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro the following year. In Start Up at the New Met Paul Jackson wrote: “Valente is a lovely Susanna. Her voice, not overlarge, is so distinguished by its lemony sweet timbre on the staff and the exquisite shine on high that she gives the servant status beyond her station.” She sang 66 performances at the Met between 1973 and 1984.

This recording illustrates her lovely bright voice and excellent technique, as well as her astounding versatility in different forms of music. The first three selections are examples of her excellence singing Mozart. In the song Un moto di gioia the accompaniment is by pianist Richard Goode, who also accompanies her in the Schubert, Brahms, and Wolf songs. She sings “Deh vieni, non tadar” beautifully with the Eastman Orchestra conducted by David Effron, who also conducts the Handel aria “Lascia ch’io pianga.” A highlight of the disc is a live performance of Mozart’s Vorrei Spiegarvi o Dio with Alexander Schneider conducting the Mozart Festival Orchestra.

Three well-sung Schubert songs follow, then another great live performance, Der Hirt auf dem Felsen , with pianist Rudolf Serkin and clarinetist Harold Wright from the Malboro Music Festival.

Goode accompanies the two Brahms songs and the eight Hugo Wolf songs. They demonstrate Valente’s understanding of German Lieder. She also demonstrates her ability in French art songs in beautiful versions of four Debussy songs accompanied by pianist Lydia Artymiw. Finally, rare recordings of Spanish songs by Fernando Obradors that are delightful and accompanied by pianist Effron.

The booklet contains two essays about her career, both by Robert Baxter, as well as texts and translations. The sound is very good. As Baxter writes about her ability, “She spoke serenely but eloquently through the music she sang.” I certainly agree that this is an eloquent recital, and strongly recommend it.

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Works on This Recording

Un moto di gioia, K 579 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Benita Valente (Soprano), Richard Goode (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1789; Vienna, Austria 
Le nozze di Figaro, K 492: Giunse alfin il momento...Deh vieni, non tardar by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Benita Valente (Soprano)
Conductor:  David Effron
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Eastman Philharmonia
Period: Classical 
Written: 1786; Vienna, Austria 
Vorrei spiegarvi, oh Dio, K 418 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Benita Valente (Soprano)
Conductor:  Alexander Schneider
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Minneapolis Festival Concert Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1783; Vienna, Austria 
Rinaldo, HWV 7: Armida dispietata...Lascia ch'io pianga mia cruda sorte by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Benita Valente (Soprano)
Conductor:  David Effron
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Eastman Philharmonia
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1711; London, England 
Heidenröslein, D 257/Op. 3 no 3 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Benita Valente (Soprano), Richard Goode (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1815; Vienna, Austria 
Nacht und Träume, D 827 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Benita Valente (Soprano), Richard Goode (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1823; Vienna, Austria 
Rastlose Liebe, D 138/Op 51 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Benita Valente (Soprano), Richard Goode (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1815/1821; Vienna, Austria 
Der Hirt auf dem Felsen, D 965/Op. 129 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Harold Wright (Clarinet), Benita Valente (Soprano), Rudolf Serkin (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1828; Vienna, Austria 

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