including tracklist here.
37-year old French soprano Patricia Petibon has teamed up with the period ensemble Concerto Köln and conductor Daniel Harding for this, her first, solo disc for Deutsche Grammophon. A website dedicated to the disc may be accessed here.
According to the promotional material, Patricia Petibon "circles around the ever-important topic of love and desire – in a series of character-portraits she explores how the very different female characters in the operas of Mozart, Haydn, and Gluck respond to the challenges of love".
First of all, Patricia Petibon is an enormously compelling vocal performer, who clearly gives 110%, which makes this album fascinating to listen to.
On pure vocal terms, I am a bit more sceptical, though. Compared to her last solo disc (Patricia Petibon - French Touch from 2004) her voice seems to have become rather thin at the top as well as having lost some of the lyric glow.
Furthermore, she is clearly strained in the more dramatic and expressive pieces, which nevertheless are the best on the disc, such as Tiger (Zaide), Odio (Haydn´s Armida) and Vanne d´Affretta (Lucio Silla) while I find the Queen of the Night (Die hölle rache) too heavy for her.
Barbarina´s L´ho perduta is really quite touching and seems to suit her slim voice better than Susanna´s Deh vieni. Another highlight is Venez, secondez mes désirs from Gluck´s Armide.
However, what remains upon repeated listening is that Patricia Petibon is a very unique performer, who infuses this disc with an elusive individuality so rare among contemporary singers making for irresistible listening. Though I´d be worried about the length of her career if she continues to sing like this as it simply doesn´t sound healthy. However, it makes for tremendously compelling listening.
Not to forget Daniel Harding´s simply superb, full-blooded accompaniement with the Concerto Köln, greatly contributing to the success of this disc.
The bottom line (scale of 1-5, 3=average):