Magazine article Opera Canada

Azulao

Magazine article Opera Canada

Azulao

Article excerpt

Isabel Bayrakdarian, soprano, James Parker, piano, Cello Ensemble. CBC Records MVCD 1164. ****

Canadian soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian strives for, and usually attains, perfection in everything she takes on, and this new portrait from CBC Records is no exception. In this program of Spanish and Sooth American music, she shows off her pure-as-spring-air voice, a tone with nary a trace of harshness, a sparkling delivery and an impeccable flair for languages. Clearly, she takes great pleasure in singing, and imparts that to the listener at every turn.

The best-known work here is Villa Lobos's lovely Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5, which attains a new freshness in Bayrakdarian's nearly peerless rendition. Her melting lyricism in the wordless outer sections of the Aria is complemented by her astonishing agility in the nearly frantic Dance, where she conjures the image of a tiny, fluttering bird, closing with a jump to a perfectly placed high C.

The Villa Lobos was, in fact, likely the spark for this entire project. Scored for voice and eight cellos, that unusual but evocative combination is also heard in Rodrigo's Cuatro madrigales amatorios, Montsalvatge's "Lullaby" from Cinco canciones negras and Brazilian composer Jayme Ovalle's wistful, two-minute Azulao (all as arranged by Peter Tiefenbach), as well as Manuel de Falla's Suite populaire espagnole, as arranged by Claude Kenneson. …

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