Pergolesi Stabat Mater Yoncheva DeshayesPergolesi. Stabat Mater

Giovanni Battista Pergolesi: Stabat Mater
Francesco Mancini: Sonata n. 14 in G minor
Francesco Durante: Concerto grosso n. 1 in F minor

Sonya Yoncheva, soprano; Karine Deshayes, mezzosoprano
Héloïse Gaillard, flute
Ensemble Amarillis
Musical direction, Héloïse Gaillard and Violaine Cochard

Sony, 2016

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Rarely I have found an album more disappointing than this one, a live recording of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater and other works, performed during a concert at the Théâtre des Champs-Élisées in June 2016. The programme includes – apart from the Stabat Mater – two more works by Francesco Mancini (Sonata No. 14 in G minor) and by Francesco Durante (Concerto grosso n. 1 in F minor).

The three works are performed by the Ensemble Amarillis and soprano Sonya Yoncheva and mezzosoprano Karine Deshayes join the ensemble in Pergolesi’s sacred masterpiece. Despite the illustrious name of the Bulgarian soprano, the performance is quite disappointing, first of all for the low quality of the sound, but this is only one of its many weaknesses. In the Stabat Mater, only Sonya Yoncheva is adequate, but far from being as astonishing as one might expect. In her solo parts, Yoncheva sings sufficiently well and her interpretation is warmer than in other recordings, where I found her a little cold.

Mezzosoprano Karine Deshayes, on the contrary, was not equal to the task. I was not very impressed by her debut album dedicated to Rossini arias and in Pergolesi’s sacred masterpiece my negative impression was confirmed. Deshayes’s voice has not a beautiful timbre, her low register is virtually inexistent (her voice almost disappears in certain moments, as in Fac ut ardeat) and overall she never seems at ease.

When these two singers sing together, it is a disaster: every duet (and there are many of them) becomes a singsong and the worst of all is Fac ut ardeat, where not only them, but the orchestra too, seem played and sung in extreme disorder.

Finally, the Ensemble Amarillis always plays roughly and nervously, not only in the Stabat Mater, but in the other two works as well.

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