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It must be true - the NY Times says so! (Unless it's some of their FAKE NEWS - LOL!)
So anyway, since I'd never heard her sing, I sampled some tracks from her newly released Handel album from last month. They were certainly good enough for me to proceed with the 24/96 (two-channel) download from Acoustic Sounds - and Wow! This is my kind of voice: so effortlessly produced (no strain at all) and controlled, with the PERFECT amount of vibrato, and so affecting! And she does a fair amount of attacking key notes from just below the actual pitch (a practice for which singers used to be reprimanded - the same tired critics were always quick to label this "scooping", but that charge should actually have been reserved to describe the lack of technique whereby the notes were thoughtlessly produced in a lazy manner, without consideration as to how the center of each pitch would be produced or approached). But the intelligent way in which Yoncheva uses this technique, enhancing the particular emotion attached to a dramatic or heart-rending word, is a feature of her singing I just love!
As with all Handel opera (and aria) recordings these days, the collaborating orchestra is a HIP group, and the usual HIP cognitive dissonance applies: Yoncheva sings with a beautifully produced vibrato, while the strings in the orchestra are straight-jacketed into a skinny little range which doesn't match the voice at all.
According to the Times, Yoncheva is singing roles such as Tatiana, Desdemona, and Violetta - along with her Handel and Purcell! Right now, I'd guess she's in her prime (at the age of 35), and such primes don't often extend very long in my experience as a listener. So you've got to hear her now, while she has all her goods intact.
BTW, if you live in the NYC area, she's scheduled to be signing autographs at the Met Opera Shop on Wednesday (March 15). That might even be worth a trudge through your expected mountains of snow to get there! ;-)
Just not a Handel voice, IMNSHO.
Needs a bit of 'Mezzo' for those tragic characters and yes, perhaps a bit less vibrato. ;-)
It's HANDEL! Think Harpsichord.
For Handel if I can't have Anne Sofie von Otter (she's 61), I prefer a voice more like Magdalena Kozená, above or even our own Susan Graham which I enjoyed in the role of Serse at our local Opera House.
. . . I haven't heard that Handel album. I also like Laura's friend too (Susan Graham) - maybe more in Berlioz however. ;-)
Andre Previn went for a younger violinist and others fell for instrumentalists (Dutoit> Argerich etc) but there's an avalanche of opera singers in the safe arms of conductors.
Richard Strauss, Simon Rattle, Zubin Mehta, Paul Daniel, Leonardo Vordoni (Joyce DiDonato), Sakari Oramo, Andris Nelsons, Karel Chichon (Elina Garanca) Mozart, Prokofiev......
The list is probably endless.....
In fact, one of my 'Opera Highlights' for sure and I'm really not an Opera 'buff'.
Beginning to take a liking to Handel lately. Maybe it's the harpsichord? ;-)
Weighty and outdated voice, and, surprisingly, he thinks the HIP band doesn't attack sharply enough, LOL.
Hard pleasing everybody, I guess.
. . . that's what got me interested in this singer in the first place! ;-)
I especially perked up at the words, "weighty" and "outdated"! ;-)
And, to be fair, we also read such phrases in Levine's review as "the voice impresses", "intonation is dead center", and "a beautiful voice". And the lack of a sharp HIP attack is a positive boon to the recording, as far as I'm concerned!
Obviously, I completely disagree about the supposed lack of dramatic involvement.
A friend saw the Traviata at the MET this past week-end. Thought it was outstanding but that production is awful. Oh, well.
Oh, and thanks for running down the HIPsters. I expect nothing less.
"If people don't want to come, nothing will stop them" - Sol Hurok
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