I’ve just been listening to Revive; a new recital disk from Elina Garanča. It marks her move into more dramatic territory as she enters her fifth decade. It also says quite a lot about how she wants to develop her career. There’s a very personal introductory essay titled Strong Women in Moments of Weakness and it seems to me that she’s looking to find her place in the 19th century French/Italian romantic/verismo repertoire as opposed to, say, Strauss or Wagner. Certainly the pieces on the disk represent roles like Eboli, Didon, Delila and Hérodiade, as well as some more obscure stuff like Musette from the Leoncavallo La Bohème and Anne from Saint-Saëns Henry VIII.
I think the singing is pretty much what one would expect, which is to say that Garanča fans will enjoy it while those her see her as a cold and lifeless “ice princess” are unlikely to be converted. She sings with great precision, steely beauty, wonderful control of line and, yes, a certain coldness but I find that appealing in rep I sometimes find a bit overwrought. She can also be just plain gorgeous of tone at times too. Connais-tu le pays from
Werther Thomas’ Mignon doesn’t really fit this disk but it’s very beautiful. Other highlights for me included the Veil Song from Don Carlo and Ah! Ah! Je vais mourir from Les Troyens.
Accompaniment is from the orchestra and chorus of Valencia’s Palau des Arts Reina Sofia where the disk was recorded. Roberto Abbado conducts. The orchestral sound is very full blooded and it sounds like it’s quite a resonant hall, all of which suits the music.