Magazine article Opera Canada

The Wagner Album Juha Uusitalo

Magazine article Opera Canada

The Wagner Album Juha Uusitalo

Article excerpt

Ondine 1121-2

Finnish bass-baritone Juha Uusitalo is fast-rising star in the firmament of contermporary Wagner singer. his status evident in the choice of repertoire for this first recital album. He covers some familiar recital territory--"die First ist um" from Der fliegende Hollander, "O du, mein holder Abendstern" from Tannhauser and Wotan's "Abschied" from Die Walkure--as well as tracts usually left to complete recordings: two long Amfortas laments from parsifal Acts I and III and the Wanderer's final dismissal of Erda at the outset of Act III of Siegfried. It's a generous and interesting program, rounded out by the Hollander overture played by Uusitalo's accompanist throughout the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Leif Segerstam.

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I saw Uusitalo live earlier this year in the title role of Verdi's Macbeth, and can attest he's a very dramatic Presence on stage, his tone is clean and firm (albeit without the darker undertow of many singers in this Wagner repertoire) and his attention to text is exemplary. A flautist by training and profesion (he played in the orchestra of the Finnish National Operea), he turned to singing seriously only in the late 1990s, but has emerged already as an accomplished singer-actor. …

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