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Our third diva this month is Natalie Dessay, whose Pictures of America continues her musical voyage away from opera into different genres, here the Great American Songbook. She is inspired by Edward Hopper’s paintings, hence songs of anticipation, self-realisation and often loneliness and disappointment. Dessay sounds in great form and uses every trick in the book. She takes aspects of a Streisand-inspired technique, taking the cover offthe voice mid-note and opening the tone right out to its full; or whittling it down to a sexy, Julie London whisper. Let’s call it a homage rather than mimicry, and be thankful that she avoids going for the ‘Full Ethel’ in There’s No Business Like Show Business. There are fascinating arrangements of the songs too, wittily and spikily conducted by Clare Gibault. (A second CD features Graciane Finzi’s Scénographies d’Edward Hopper, a dirge that apparently inspired Dessay, but provokes me to deduct a star from my rating.)

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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