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The voice remains in remarkable condition, as strongly radiant, firm, and secure as ever. And of course the characteristics that have made her so prized in this repertoire, the perfect shaping of line and outstanding diction, remain, still more finely honed.
This series has established pianist Nicholas Walker as the new reference for Balakirev’s music. His playing throughout is a pleasure to hear, with a sophisticated tonal palette and eschewing any superficial virtuosity.
A ClassicsToday 10/10! These performances of the Symphonies Nos. 1-3, engineered with warmth, clarity, and impact, rank with the best. The revised, enlarged Fourth Symphony is played with passion, color, and drive aplenty.
Varady's reading of the Wesendonck Lieder is remarkable, enthralling. The feeling of the words is one of very present emotions. Her Puccini is so musical, the response so intelligent, immediate, and full-hearted. She adjusts wonderfully well to the Italian idiom.
The climactic fourth scene, depicting the Peasants’ Revolt itself, ia especially vivid. All the protagonists are portrayed with touching truthfulness. It’s superbly conducted by Bertrand de Billy, who makes the most of the opera’s visionary moments.