lietofinelondon

Aria for … Saturday – Ecco l’orrido campo (Un Ballo in maschera)

In Aria For ..., Classical Music, Opera, Verdi on November 24, 2012 at 10:36 am

Whatever happened to Susan Dunn? A soprano in the spinto tradition I have two discs of her singing. The first, from which this aria comes, is a disc of Wagner and Verdi together with Beethoven’s Ah, Perfido! conducted by Riccardo Chailly. The second is the First Act only – sadly as it is a brilliant recording – of Die Walküre in the role of Sieglinde with Klaus König and Peter Meven conducted by Maazel who surprisingly is an intuitive Wagnerian.

Ms Dunn has both formidable technique and a formidable instrument. Her voice is bright and evenly controlled throughout its range. What’s more she has a thrilling burr – almost a growl in fact – at the lower end of her register that she uses with telling effect. And all this is coupled with strong diction.

In this particular aria from Un Ballo in maschera – as well as throughout the recital CD – she deploys all these skills and her innate musicianship to amazing effect. This can be a cruel aria to perform and on more than one occasion I have seen a soprano catch themselves by failing to navigate it with due care as in parts the vocal line is cruelly exposed. This isn’t the case with Ms Dunn. Not only does she ride effortlessly above the orchestra switching when required to a most dramatic effective mezze voce with incredible ease, but she sings each note with due diligence with intense care given to phrasing and the overall arc of the vocal line with masterfully dynamic shading.

And as ever while it’s impossible in excerpts to generate real dramatic tension, Chailly leads the orchestra with due attention to detail, driving the music forward while sympathetically supporting Ms Dunn throughout.

Time to dig out more Dunn.

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