Magazine article Opera Canada

Images De Noel: Karina Gauvin

Magazine article Opera Canada

Images De Noel: Karina Gauvin

Article excerpt

IMAGES DE NOEL

KARINA GAUVIN, SOPRANO, MICHAEL McMahon, piano, and Nora Shulman, flute. CBC MVCD 1131. ****

A VOICE OF EXCEPTIONAL PURITY, IMPECCABLE musicianship and lovely stage presence has propelled soprano Karina Gauvin to international fame. Now we have two new releases that showcase her talent. Images de Noel, an album of Christmas songs, is bound to find its way under many a Christmas tree. Gauvin wisely avoids the chestnuts favored by most divas, opting for relatively unfamiliar pieces by French, German, English and American composers. Most selections are quiet and introspective, which suit the soft-grained, ethereal vocalism of Gauvin, who creates the proper mood through beauty of tone rather than illumination of the text. This works well with songs like Britten's "Corpus Christi Carol," but is less successful in songs by Cornelius and Wolf, where her tendency to suppress the consonants makes for cloudy German diction, and her demure rendition of the African-American folk tune "Mary Had a Baby" could use a bit more liveliness. …

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