Susan Graham - Il tenero momento
It's a very long time since I heard an operatic recital by a modern singer that satisfied me as much as this one does. Graham, now at the apex of her career, displays her skills as singer and interpreter in a sensibly planned and executed programme, comprised of arias from roles she has sung on stage. Graham sounds entirely inside all her music and dispenses it with a confidence and attack that is truly amazing, but the refulgent, vibrant voice and faultless technique are wholly at the service of the music, the mezzo showing a sensitive empathy with the emotions of every character she portrays.
If I wanted to make you go out and buy this disc, I would ask you to listen to Sesto's two arias. They are templates of the rest in the ideal moulding of phrase, evenness of tone throughout a wide tessitura and exemplary coloratura allied to an identification with the youth's plight. The moment to savour most is the reprise, in the second piece, of the words 'Deh, per questio istante solo' where Graham employs a quite magical mezza voce.
To complete one's pleasure in a treasurable CD, there are the wholly stylish playing of the alert orchestra under the command of Bicket, a specialist in this kind of music, and a perfect balance in the recording between voice and instruments. And now, if you don't mind, I shall go back and play a few tracks all over again.