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PERFORMING ARTS: CLASSICAL MUSIC, DANCE, OPERA | RECORDINGS

Kasarova Shows Her Strengths, Weaknesses

*** MOZART: Arias. Vesselina Kasarova, mezzo-soprano. Staatskapelle Dresden. Colin Davis, conductor. (RCA Victor Red Seal)

September 28, 1997|Chris Pasles

Some of the complaints that have been voiced about this young Bulgarian mezzo-soprano are evident here: acidity in tone and occasional pitch and breath problems. To which you can add spreading tone, little characterization and some strange Italian. But the virtues are here, too: vocal warmth, suavity, energy. The gems of the disc include excerpts from "Mitridate, re di Ponto" and "Lucio Silla." The first was written by a 14-year-old Mozart, who could spin out as well as anyone golden age glories for the castrati songbirds of the day. "Lucio" came one year later.

Kasarova has the extreme range and the agility to handle these virtuosic demands. Davis provides cushy support. It's odd to find so little ornamentation on the repeats of the opera seria arias in this day of authentic period practice.

*

Albums are rated on a scale of one star (poor), two stars (fair), three stars (good) and four stars (excellent).

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