Welsh National Opera Orchestra
Carlo Rizzi, conductor
This time the impersonal title Arias refers to a various and lovely album by Olga Borodina, which the Russian mezzosoprano recorded with Welsh National Opera Orchestra under the baton of Carlo Rizzi. Arias collects pieces from Italian, French, English and Russian operas and in every one of them Borodina finds something no express and, why not, to teach.
Her flexible, velvety voice with just a hint of melancholy permits her to shine in Rossini’s pyrotechnical coloratura (La Cenerentola and Semiramide) and Meyerbeer (Les Huguenots) and then to express more evocative and delicate feelings in the arias from Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and Handel’s Serse and to be even more impressive in the latter than in the former. Borodina has a homogenous, rich voice, which fills every aria of poetry, even if sometimes the roles are not particularly characterized. Printemps qui commence (from Saint-Saen’s Samson et Dalila) is a little gem and, in my opinion, one of the best achievements of the entire album and easily reminds the listener that Dalila is one of Borodina’s best roles. Finally, Borodina is convincing also in the soprano role of Lisa from The Queen of Spades, even if at the beginning she sounds a little too gloomy.
Carlo Rizzi’s direction is delicious. He emphasizes the emotions and accompanies the singer with great care and intelligence. Listen for example at D’amour l’ardente flamme (from Berlioz’s La damnation de Faust) to have an idea of the close collaboration of the two performers and to the cabaletta of Non più mesta and the way in which the conductor underlines Angiolina’s happiness.