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Amanda Roocroft / Franz Welser-most, London Philharmonic


Release Date: 05/18/2007 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 55090   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  George Frideric HandelWolfgang Amadeus MozartGiacomo PucciniGiuseppe Verdi,   ... 
Performer:  Paul BenistonAmanda RoocroftTina Gruenberg
Conductor:  Franz Welser-Möst
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 2 Mins. 

This title is currently unavailable.



This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

The return to ready availability of this debut recording of one of Britain’s finest sopranos is to be welcomed.

Amanda Roocroft first impacted on my radar in 1988 when she won the prestigious Frederic Cox award at Manchester’s Royal Northern College of Music. There she was a student of the formidable teacher, Barbara Robotham. Later that year Roocroft won the Decca Ferrier award with a Welsh baritone now called Terfel winning the senior prize. But it was in the College’s staged performance of Cosi Fan Tutte in March of that year that I really sat up and took notice. As was their practice at that time the RNCM put on two productions in March. The Rigoletto featured Bruno Caproni in the name part in a well thought out
Read more production by Stefan Janski. With his magnificent vocal and acted portrayal of the jester, and the sheer vibrancy of a young chorus, it was a great evening. I approached the Cosi thinking it would be very much a second-eleven job. Then we got to Roocroft’s singing of Fiordiligi’s Come scoglio and suddenly my whole perception changed. It is one thing winning a singing competition with piano accompaniment, another to sing and act a role with an orchestra of players of high ability, many on the verge of professional careers. I should not perhaps have been so surprised. After all the decade had seen the RNCM launch the careers of Joan Rodgers, Anne Dawson and Jane Eaglen among a bevy of distinguished soprano alumni.

If Roocroft’s Come scoglio in that RNCM production of Cosi hit me unexpectedly, I was ready for Fiordiligi’s act two Per Pieta and which was equally expressive and stunning. In his review Gerald Larner was just as impressed finding only a little to criticise in Roocroft’s lower register. For their 1989 productions the College featured Verdi’s Don Carlo and Handel’s Alcina, the latter clearly designed to frame Roocroft’s vocal and acting skills which aim was accomplished with a vengeance. The renowned Manchester-based critic and Richard Strauss scholar Michael Kennedy praised her performance to the roof. Regrettably, this got up the craw of some London critics who tended to believe that the only good thing to come from north of Watford was black puddings. They took the view that Lancashire lass from Coppull couldn’t be as good as Kennedy made out and knives were sharpened and used in the next few years. But some significant conductors recognised her talent.

Immediately after leaving college in 1989 she was signed up by Welsh National Opera as Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier conducted by Charles Mackerras. In 1990 she sang Pamina on the Glyndebourne Tour of Peter Sellars’ rather perverse staging of Die Zauberflöte that so divided the Glyndebourne hierarchy. Then Roocroft went on to Covent Garden as Pamina and Glyndebourne as Fiordiligi, the latter becoming something of a calling card with her performance recorded on DVD conducted by John Eliot Gardiner (Archiv 073 026-9). She also sang the role in Jonathan Miller’s Armani-clad production at Covent Garden. The London critics had their field day in Roocroft’s early years, some not being silenced until her formidable Jenufa and Katya later in the 1990s. But Lancashire lasses are made of stern stuff, talent will out and be recognised. Nowadays with a young family Roocroft sings recitals as well as featuring regularly in London and Munich among other first class addresses. If she hasn’t quite succeeded in becoming the British answer to Kiri, her repertoire and voice have grown far more. She has made an affecting Butterfly at Covent Garden alongside Lane Irwin, another of Barbara Robotham’s pupils, as Suzuki. The two sang the long act 2 duet from Madama Butterfly, including the lovely aria Un bel di from the soprano at a concert given at the RNCM in January 2006 to raise money to endow an award in their teacher’s name (review).

In this debut album, recorded in 1994, Roocroft sets out her stall in the lyric soprano repertoire. The flexibility of her voice is heard to good effect in the Handel items (trs. 1-2). Her lyric expressiveness is well to the fore in the Puccini trio (trs. 5-7). Legato is exemplary in Desdemona’s Ave Maria (tr. 8). I would have loved to have had the excerpt extended by the Willow Song. Creamy tone and smooth legato are also to the fore in Rusalka’s Song to the Moon (tr. 9) and Charpentier’s Depuis le jour (tr. 10). Roocroft’s rendering of the Strauss duo of Morgen and Befreit (trs. 10-11) would doubtless have pleased Michael Kennedy who now donates an annual prize for the singing of Richard Strauss at the RNCM. My faultfinding is restricted to the matter of diction, so often a problem with sopranos in particular. I am pleased to note that the last time I heard her live it was a problem properly addressed and solved even when riding Puccini’s dense orchestration in Butterfly.

The return to ready availability of this debut recording of one of Britain’s finest sopranos is to be welcomed.

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

1.
Samson, HWV 57: Let the bright Seraphim by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Paul Beniston (Trumpet), Amanda Roocroft (Soprano)
Conductor:  Franz Welser-Möst
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1743; London, England 
Date of Recording: 01/1994 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 5 Minutes 32 Secs. 
Language: English 
2.
Giulio Cesare, HWV 17: Piangerò la sorte mia by George Frideric Handel
Performer:  Amanda Roocroft (Soprano)
Conductor:  Franz Welser-Möst
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1724; London, England 
Date of Recording: 01/1994 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 7 Minutes 7 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
Notes: This selection begins with "E pur cosi..." 
3.
Così fan tutte, K 588: Temerari!...Come scoglio by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Amanda Roocroft (Soprano)
Conductor:  Franz Welser-Möst
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1790; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 01/1994 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 5 Minutes 59 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
4.
Idomeneo, K 366: Solitudini amiche...Zeffiretti lusinghieri by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performer:  Amanda Roocroft (Soprano)
Conductor:  Franz Welser-Möst
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Classical 
Written: 1781; Munich, Germany 
Date of Recording: 01/1994 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 6 Minutes 57 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
5.
La Rondine: Ch'il bel sogno di Doretta by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Amanda Roocroft (Soprano)
Conductor:  Franz Welser-Möst
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1917; Italy 
Date of Recording: 01/1994 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 3 Minutes 22 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
6.
Gianni Schicchi: O mio babbino caro by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Amanda Roocroft (Soprano)
Conductor:  Franz Welser-Möst
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1918; Italy 
Date of Recording: 01/1994 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 2 Minutes 11 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
7.
Manon Lescaut: In quelle trine morbide by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Amanda Roocroft (Soprano)
Conductor:  Franz Welser-Möst
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893; Italy 
Date of Recording: 01/1994 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 2 Minutes 29 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
8.
Ave Maria by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Amanda Roocroft (Soprano)
Conductor:  Franz Welser-Möst
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1880; Italy 
Date of Recording: 01/1994 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 4 Minutes 57 Secs. 
Language: Italian 
9.
Rusalka, Op. 114/B 203: O moon high up "Song to the moon" by Antonín Dvorák
Performer:  Amanda Roocroft (Soprano)
Conductor:  Franz Welser-Möst
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1900; Bohemia 
Date of Recording: 01/1994 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 6 Minutes 7 Secs. 
Language: Czech 
10.
Louise: Depuis le jour by Gustave Charpentier
Performer:  Amanda Roocroft (Soprano)
Conductor:  Franz Welser-Möst
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1900; France 
Date of Recording: 01/1994 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 4 Minutes 57 Secs. 
Language: French 
11.
Chanson triste by Henri Duparc
Performer:  Amanda Roocroft (Soprano)
Conductor:  Franz Welser-Möst
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1868; France 
Date of Recording: 01/1994 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 2 Minutes 53 Secs. 
Language: French 
Notes: Orchestrated: Henri Duparc (1912) 
12.
Lieder (4), Op. 27: no 4, Morgen by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Tina Gruenberg (Violin), Amanda Roocroft (Soprano)
Conductor:  Franz Welser-Möst
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894; Germany 
Date of Recording: 01/1994 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 3 Minutes 42 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: Orchestrated: Richard Strauss (1897) 
13.
Lieder (5), Op. 39: no 4, Befreit by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Amanda Roocroft (Soprano)
Conductor:  Franz Welser-Möst
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Date of Recording: 01/1994 
Venue:  EMI Abbey Road Studio No. 1, London 
Length: 5 Minutes 15 Secs. 
Language: German 
Notes: Orchestrated: Richard Strauss (1933) 

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