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Italian Operatic Arias / Urbanova, Lenard, Et Al


Release Date: 01/27/2004 
Label:  Supraphon   Catalog #: 3763   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Vincenzo BelliniFrancesco CilčaJules MassenetGiacomo Puccini,   ... 
Performer:  Eva UrbanováLucie Svehlova
Conductor:  Ondrej Lenárd
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague National Theatre Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This is a fascinating and engrossing recital—recorded live at a concert in Prague on May 30, 2003. Urbanová’s voice lacks many of the qualities that we associate with much of this repertoire. It isn’t plush—rather, it is sharply focused without a cushion of sound around its center. She doesn’t quite have the feel for the Italian style of legato that comes naturally to many who specialize in this repertoire. And the top, particularly in Turandot’s second act aria, or at the climax of the aria from La Wally, can turn a bit hard and pinched, though at other times it seems more secure.

Yet I kept going back to hear it over and over again. Why? Because it is singing with a real personality—and with, for the most part,
Read more complete technical command of the voice and the music. Nothing here is phoned in—everything is sung with commitment, and with frequent individual touches of phrasing or dynamic shading—none of which seem mannered. Manon Lescaut’s last-act aria is particularly moving and engrossing—the emptiness of Manon’s situation is conveyed chillingly. Norma’s “Casta diva” is perhaps the most un-idiomatic, with more breaks in Bellini’s line than we expect to hear. But somehow it works, because Urbanová convinces us that she is inside Norma’s character, and because her musicality and care with dynamics outweigh the stylistic peculiarities. The verismo arias are movingly done, though, again, one is used to hearing more innately warm, glowing voices (Tebaldi, Caballé, Price) in this music. Unlike many of today’s singers, most of whom seem cut from the same cloth, Urbanová gives us individualized, believable performances that command attention and involvement from the listener.

Not so helpful is Ondrej Lenárd’s conducting—lacking in momentum and somewhat heavy-footed. This is particularly frustrating because there are three purely orchestral numbers on the disc. The Prague National Theatre Orchestra plays quite well, and for a live recording, the sound quality is very natural and well balanced. The audience applause after each aria is kept to a reasonable minimum, and adds to the feel of being at an event. Supraphon provides a detailed bio of Urbanová, a brief one of Lenárd, and nothing about the music—no texts or translations are provided (but vocal collectors will not need them). When I first began listening to this I had some serious reservations; less than halfway through the disc they vanished. Having now gone back through it three times, I recommend it with enthusiasm—unless you are absolutely allergic to the sound of a Slavic soprano in this repertoire.

Henry Fogel, FANFARE
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Works on This Recording

1.
Norma: Casta diva by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Eva Urbanová (Soprano)
Conductor:  Ondrej Lenárd
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague National Theatre Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831; Italy 
2.
Adriana Lecouvreur: Io son l'umile ancella by Francesco Cilča
Performer:  Eva Urbanová (Soprano)
Conductor:  Ondrej Lenárd
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague National Theatre Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1902; Italy 
3.
Adriana Lecouvreur: Poveri fiori by Francesco Cilča
Performer:  Eva Urbanová (Soprano)
Conductor:  Ondrej Lenárd
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague National Theatre Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1902; Italy 
4.
Thaďs: Meditation by Jules Massenet
Performer:  Lucie Svehlova (Violin)
Conductor:  Ondrej Lenárd
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague National Theatre Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894; France 
5.
Edgar: Addio mi dolce amor by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Eva Urbanová (Soprano)
Conductor:  Ondrej Lenárd
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague National Theatre Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1889; Italy 
6.
Turandot: In questa reggia by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Eva Urbanová (Soprano)
Conductor:  Ondrej Lenárd
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague National Theatre Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1926; Italy 
7.
Manon Lescaut: Act 3 Intermezzo by Giacomo Puccini
Conductor:  Ondrej Lenárd
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague National Theatre Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Italy 
8.
Manon Lescaut: Sola, perduta, abbandonata by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Eva Urbanová (Soprano)
Conductor:  Ondrej Lenárd
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague National Theatre Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Italy 
9.
La Wally: Ebben?... Ne andrň lontana by Alfredo Catalani
Performer:  Eva Urbanová (Soprano)
Conductor:  Ondrej Lenárd
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague National Theatre Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; Italy 
10.
Cavalleria Rusticana: Ineggiamo, il Signor "Easter Hymn" by Pietro Mascagni
Performer:  Eva Urbanová (Soprano)
Conductor:  Ondrej Lenárd
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague National Theatre Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1890; Italy 
11.
Cavalleria Rusticana: Voi lo sapete, o Mamma by Pietro Mascagni
Performer:  Eva Urbanová (Soprano)
Conductor:  Ondrej Lenárd
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague National Theatre Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1890; Italy 
12.
La forza del destino: La Vergine degli angeli by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Eva Urbanová (Soprano)
Conductor:  Ondrej Lenárd
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague National Theatre Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Italy 
13.
Don Carlos: O don fatale by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Eva Urbanová (Soprano)
Conductor:  Ondrej Lenárd
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague National Theatre Orchestra
14.
Cavalleria Rusticana: Intermezzo by Pietro Mascagni
Conductor:  Ondrej Lenárd
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague National Theatre Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: Italy 
Notes: Composition written: Italy (1888).
Composition revised: Italy (1889). 

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