Orchestra e Coro del Teatro Massimo di Palermo
Jader Bignamini, conductor
Prima Classic, 2018
After her wonderful Rossini album Amor fatale and two recordings of complete operas, Luisa Miller and La clemenza di Tito, we have again the pleasure to listen to soprano Marina Rebeka in her album Spirito, dedicated to the heroines of the operas composed by Bellini, Donizetti and Spontini – to complete the trio with a less predictable figure than the third, “canonical” belcanto composer, Gioacchino Rossini.
Spirito: Rebeka’s Perfect Musicality
As in her previous works, the Latvian soprano reveals her amazing blend of strength and delicacy, perfectly balanced by the purity of a voice that is able to enchant and to move thanks to its brightness and eloquence. Rebeka exerts a perfect control on her vocal means, with impressive agility, stunning coloratura and above all luminous high notes which display her inexhaustible energy. This allows her to sing with self-assurance and ease and to disclose some striking effects throughout the album. Perhaps the most incredible one is in Deh! Tu di un’umile preghiera from Maria Stuarda, where Rebeka is able to sustain a prodigiously long note lowering, reinforcing and lowering the sound again.
Spirito: Psychology of the Characters
Rebeka also explores the psychology of her heroines, as it is evident from details (her accents, the inflexions of the words, her pathos) that consequently create a general picture which is impressive for the humanity and dramatic power of Rebeka’s heroines.
Each one of them has her own way to reveal her extraordinary vigour. Norma strikes for her devotion and grace in Casta diva, which seems more a dream than an invocation, but she also suggests her authoritativeness. It is a pity, in this regard, that the recitative Sediziose voci has not been included in the recording.
For her part, Imogene is remarkable for her unrestrained singing and Oh sole! Ti vela di tenebre oscure is impressive for the emotion she conveys.
The two Donizetti Queens, Maria Stuarda and Anna Bolena are both portrayed in the moments immediately before their execution and Rebeka gives voice to their pain and courage with stunning vividness.
As for Giulia (La vestale), she shares with her companions the same intensity of feelings, which is enthralling and passionate in the final part of the aria Toi, que j’implore avec effroi.
The Meaning of Spirito
After listening to such sincere emotions and vocal perfection, the title Spirito (“spirit”) acquires a clearer meaning. It refers to the strength of the women Rebeka portrays with such energy and fervour – a kind of strength that sustains them in difficult, even crucial moments of their lives and that help them to overcome them with their dignity and nobility intact. Spirito is therefore an album that celebrates women as strong creatures and that is so effective in conveying this idea thanks to the excellent performance of Marina Rebeka.