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Puccini, Verdi, Bellini, Donizetti: Arias / Liping Zhang


Release Date: 11/11/2008 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 37250   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Giacomo PucciniGiuseppe VerdiVincenzo BelliniGaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Liping Zhang
Conductor:  Giordano Bellincampi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 52 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

A warm welcome to this debut recital.

Liping Zhang was born in China and after five years as a dance student entered the Wuhan Conservatoire to study voice. As a young student she was selected to sing with Placido Domingo in Tian'anmen Square. She moved to Canada, joining the Vancouver Opera's Young Artist Programme and sang various roles throughout her adopted country including Mimi (La bohème), Leila (Les pêcheurs de perles), Liu (Turandot), Marguerite (Faust) and Lucia (Lucia di Lammermoor). After moving to London she was plucked from seemingly nowhere by the impresario Raymond Gubbay to star as Butterfly in an acclaimed ‘in the round’ production. As opera critic Hugh Canning reports in a somewhat
Read more eulogistic sleeve-note, her career has been on an upward curve with acclaimed debuts at Covent Garden, the New York Metropolitan Opera, the Deutsche Oper Berlin and elsewhere.

Liping Zhang’s successful debut at Covent Garden was as the gentle and loving Liu in Puccini’s Turandot. She has since followed this up with Micaela in Carmen and Mimi in La bohème, each being well received. These roles are ideal for a lyric soprano with a bright tone and forward direction such as hers. In this collection she has chosen exclusively from the Italian repertoire and includes arias from roles that I would hope, on the evidence, that she is not yet planning to add to her stage appearances. Those that suit her voice and histrionic skills the best are the Puccini roles of Butterfly where she exhibits plenty of power in un bel di (tr.6), vocal sparkle as Magda in Chi il bel sogno di Doretta from La Rondine (tr.8) and dramatic potential as Tosca in a well sung Vissi d’arte (tr.4). It’s a pity we could not hear her Mimi too. There is plenty of free space on this debut disc.

Roles I hope Liping Zhang would not attempt in the near future are the eponymous Norma (tr. 2) and Leonora in Verdi’s Il Trovatore (tr.3). Neither, although pleasant on the ear, is convincing as dramatic and involved vocal portrayals. She is no Caballé yet! Likewise, as Verdi’s Medora in Il Corsar, she lacks true low note purity and projection (tr.5). Her vocal lightness and coloratura flexibility are heard to better advantage in the Mad Scene from Donizetti’s Lucia (tr.7), although her descending coloratura is a little laboured to my ear, in Violetta’s act one finale from La Traviata (tr.8) and particularly in the less well known bolero from I vespri Siciliani (tr.1)

As well as Canning’s biographical details, the booklet includes a contextual introduction to each extract as well the words, both being given in English, French and German; well done EMI. The recorded acoustic is rather reverberant.

-- Robert J Farr, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1.
Tosca: Vissi d'arte, vissi d'amore by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Liping Zhang (Soprano)
Conductor:  Giordano Bellincampi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1900; Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 23 Secs. 
Notes: Audio Engineer: Oldrich Slezak.
Audio Producer: Simon Kiln. 
2.
Madama Butterfly: Un bel dì vedremo by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Liping Zhang (Soprano)
Conductor:  Giordano Bellincampi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1904; Italy 
Length: 4 Minutes 24 Secs. 
Notes: Audio Engineer: Oldrich Slezak.
Audio Producer: Simon Kiln. 
3.
Il trovatore: D'amor sull' ali rosee by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Liping Zhang (Soprano)
Conductor:  Giordano Bellincampi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Italy 
Length: 5 Minutes 7 Secs. 
Notes: Audio Engineer: Oldrich Slezak.
Audio Producer: Simon Kiln. 
4.
Norma: Casta diva by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Liping Zhang (Soprano)
Conductor:  Giordano Bellincampi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831; Italy 
Length: 6 Minutes 13 Secs. 
Notes: Audio Engineer: Oldrich Slezak.
Audio Producer: Simon Kiln. 
5.
La traviata: E strano! E strano! by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Liping Zhang (Soprano)
Conductor:  Giordano Bellincampi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Italy 
Length: 6 Minutes 47 Secs. 
Notes: Audio Engineer: Oldrich Slezak.
Audio Producer: Simon Kiln. 
6.
I vespri siciliani: Mercè, dilette amiche "Bolero" by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Liping Zhang (Soprano)
Conductor:  Giordano Bellincampi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1855; Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 36 Secs. 
Notes: Audio Engineer: Oldrich Slezak.
Audio Producer: Simon Kiln. 
7.
La Rondine: Ch'il bel sogno di Doretta by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Liping Zhang (Soprano)
Conductor:  Giordano Bellincampi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1917; Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 44 Secs. 
Notes: Audio Engineer: Oldrich Slezak.
Audio Producer: Simon Kiln. 
8.
Il corsaro: Non so le tetre immagini by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Liping Zhang (Soprano)
Conductor:  Giordano Bellincampi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1848; Italy 
Length: 5 Minutes 33 Secs. 
Notes: Audio Engineer: Oldrich Slezak.
Audio Producer: Simon Kiln. 
9.
I puritani: Son vergin vezzosa "Polacca" by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Liping Zhang (Soprano)
Conductor:  Giordano Bellincampi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1835; Italy 
10.
Lucia di Lammermoor: Spargi d'amaro pianto "Mad Scene" by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Liping Zhang (Soprano)
Conductor:  Giordano Bellincampi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1835; Italy 
Length: 14 Minutes 28 Secs. 
Notes: Audio Engineer: Oldrich Slezak.
Audio Producer: Simon Kiln. 

Sound Samples

I vespri Siciliani: Mercè, dilette amiche
Casta Diva (Norma)
Il Trovatore: Timor di me? ... D'amor sull'ali rosee
Tosca: Vissi d'arte
Il Corsaro: Egli non riede ancora...non so le tetre immagini
Madam Butterfly: Un bel di, vedremo
Lucia di Lammermoor: The Mad Scene
La Rondine: Chi il bel sogno di Doretta
La Traviata: E strano! è strano!...Sempre libera

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