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Over many years I have seen Edita Gruberova sing all her great roles and have followed her with enthusiasm. Not, I should add, with the hysterical fervour one witnesses from her groupies, but with a huge appreciation of her many virtues. So it is with a heavy heart that I review her latest offering, Bellini’s La straniera. When I reviewed her first staged assumption of this role (Zurich, 2013) in these pages, I was struck by her vocal decline, and to document it for posterity seems foolhardy. Gruberova still has an appreciable sense of line, but her tone often wavers, high notes are flat, pitch is approximate, cadenzas drift out of key and her peculiarly squeezed vocal production, always something her detractors loathe, has become overly mannered. (She recently celebrated her forty-fifth anniversary gala at the Vienna Staatsoper – surely a good time to call it a day – yet I see that she is booked for live performances until the end of 2017.) The Straniera supporting cast is fine, especially José Bros as Arturo, and Pietro Rizzo conducts with a tendency to brashness.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica


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