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*** "Arias and Scenes" Karita Mattila, soprano; London Philharmonic Orchestra, Yutaka Sado, conducting, \o7 Erato\f7

July 22, 2001|JOHN HENKEN

This well-chosen survey of Mattila's recent Romantic roles makes for a very affecting recital, intelligently sung with a steady, gleaming voice, big but never heavy. She inhabits Wagner's Elsa and Sieglinde and Strauss' Chrysothemis with characterful power and brings great poignancy to the monologue and prayer of Janacek's Jenufa. "Come in quest'ora bruna" of Verdi's Amelia gets a particularly tender, glinting lilt, although Lisa's monologues from Tchaikovsky's "Queen of Spades" are also filled with lyric grace. "In quelle trine morbide" from Puccini's "Manon Lescaut" and a luxuriant Vilja from Lehar's "Merry Widow" complete the program, accompanied with supportive eloquence and cleanly recorded.

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