Ritzily presented in rock-style black cover with fold-out insert and plentiful glamour photos, this not-so-common CD from Norwegian Opera forces under their current music director showcases a young singer who works additionally in crossover and musicals. Hanssveen’s biography humorously proposes a possible second career as a racing car driver. Her repertoire here seconds this idea of a short ride in a fast machine: we get no less than a potted Violetta, Donizetti’s Lucia and Marie, virtuoso shots from Ravel’s L’enfant Fire, Mozart’s Queen of the Night and Richard Strauss’s Aminta, and a pair of Puccini pops.
Phew! Can she do all this? Well, yes, and often rather well. The voice, as recorded, is lacking in the widest colour range while the singer herself tends to enjoy reaching the loud and high a little too much. Less could be more – and it does seem to be happening again for her, so no panic. To be fussy, the bravado of Le Feu and ‘Der Hölle Rache’ – both well displayed here – is not yet carried over into the emotionally trickier ‘Regnava nel silenzio’ and she’ll find more in the Puccini when she does them more. Good accompaniments – Fiore’s men and women sound wholly at home in their hopefully soon to be more accustomed studio environment.
I would imagine a large at-home sale is guaranteed; elsewhere, if the repertoire pleases, investigate with confidence and affection. The album is dedicated to the young, courageous – and now sadly late – Norwegian soprano Ingjerd Oda Mantor.