Lesley Garrett - Soprano in Red
Lesley Garrett has won herself a huge following, and I am happy to count myself among those who respond to her straightforward, unaffected vocalizing, to the clarity and brightness of her voice and its ringing top notes. What also appeals about Garrett’s recordings is the attention paid to less familiar material and the quest for authenticity of period style. Both facets are fully evident in this collection of operetta numbers from Paris, Vienna, Berlin, London and New York, ranging in time from classical Offenbach through to Coward, Novello and Romberg. The eager entreaties of Laura’s Song from Casanova, the bright expressiveness of “If love were all” and the sheer joyfulness of “Waltz of my heart” (complete with piano contribution) strike me as highlights. Especially gratifying, though, are the rarities. In the pedlar Lazuli’s two numbers from Chabrier’s
The aria from La belle Helene is performed to Michael Frayn’s text for the current ENO adaptation of the work as La belle Vivette, while in Novello’s “We’ll gather lilacs” double tracking permits Garrett to duet with herself. Ensemble and momentum go curiously adrift at the choral entries in Offenbach’s “Hymn to Bacchus”, but this detracts only a little from another delightful Garrett collection.