Hot on the heels of her successful debut at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, late in 2015 and several lauded roles for Opera Australia over the past few years, soprano Nicole Car has released her debut album The Kiss (ABC Classics).
For the recording, Andrea Molino conducts the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, an ensemble with whom Nicole Car would be well accustomed to performing. The disc contains 14 tracks,(3 orchestral), with two additional tracks available digitally.
Nicole Car has had a meteoric rise, performing a spectrum of roles from her early portrayals of Léïla in The Pearlfishers and Micaëla in Carmen, to more recently, Tatyana in Eugene Onegin in Australia and London and The Countess in The Marriage of Figaro in Australia and Dallas. Some of the arias on The Kiss are ones she reprises from her recent notable roles; others are new to her performing repertoire. They are drawn from the repertoire at which she excels – the lyrical and dramatic arias of the 19th century which showcase her versatility from the heady delight of Marguerite’s Jewel Song from Gounod’s Faust, to the tentative Micaëla in Carmen.
The Kiss is a testament to Nicole Car. It is a challenge to make operatic arias as moving on disc as they are on stage, sans dramatic context and visual adjuncts of acting, sets and costumes. But it is a challenge that Nicole meets convincingly. She sings her way through the stamina defying arias of grand opera in French, Italian, Russian and Czech with her characteristic purity of tone, surety and shimmer.
The CD gets off to a glittering start with Marguerite’s Jewel Song (Ah! je ris de me voir si belle en ce miroir), one of Nicole’s more recent stage roles. Her coloratura is unerringly accurate and evenly polished; she effectively conveys Marguerite’s excitement at the dazzling jewellery she has come upon and how fabulous they make her look.
Mimi in La bohème and Micaëla in Carmen are two other roles that Nicole has portrayed on stage in recent years, with great success, so it is pleasing to hear her sing the signature arias of these two characters, Mi chiamano Mimi (They call me Mimi) and Je dis que rien ne m’epouvante ( I say that nothing can frighten me).
Perhaps most endearing to hear, is the aria from Tatyana’s Letter Scene, Puskai pogibnu ya (Even though it kill me) from Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, a role she made her own, both in Australia and in London, where The Guardian described her Tatyana as “among the best ever.” There is great interest in hearing Nicole sing Verdi (Tacea la notte placida from Il Trovatore and Come in quest’ora bruna (In this moment before dawn) from Simon Boccanegra in anticipation of her stage debut as Luisa Miller in Sydney later this year.
Car imbues Dvořák’s Song to the Moon (Měsíčku na nebi hlubokém) from Rusalka with a spectral and poignant beauty which she takes to a thrilling climax; arias from operas by Cilea, Io son l’umile ancella ( I am the humble servant) from Adriana Lecouvrier and Massenet, Ah!je suis seule, seule enfin….Dis-moi que je suis belle (Ah! I am alone, alone at last….Tell me that I am beautiful) from Thaïs, complete a sophisticated anthology.
Digital purchasers can also download the Polonaise from Act III of Eugene Onegin and Natalya’s aria Pochudilis mne budto golosa (I thought I heard voices) from another Tchaikovsky opera, Oprichnik (The Guardsman).
It is a great delight to hear the gifted musicians of the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra in their selection of orchestral excerpts.
The CD booklet contains the text of the arias in their original language along with English translations, synopses and historical notes, biographical notes and images. The recording was made in the Eugene Goossens Hall of the ABC Centre in Ultimo, Sydney during September 2015.
Shamistha de Soysa for SoundsLikeSydney©
The Kiss is available from February 6, 2016.