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Janowitz became a member of the Vienna Staatsoper in 1962 and remained a stalwart of the company for almost 30 years, claiming the lyric soprano roles as her own with occasional excursions into heavier repertoire. In this recording she is caught live in her final ever appearance, in Athens, 1999, a release that marks the 40th anniversary of the death of Callas (to whom the evening was dedicated) and Janowitz’s own 80th birthday. The soprano, already turned 60, is in remarkable voice, her distinctive silvery and ‘straight’ tone virtually undiminished as she traverses lieder by Schubert, Schumann and Strauss. Janowitz still has an unparalleled legato and vocal control, able to swell or refine her tone with ease and attack a phrase with poise. She doesn’t necessarily dig deep into the text, but shades the voice with exquisite taste and casts an almost trance-like spell over the listener, aided by her sensitive accompanist Charles Spencer. Originally recorded for purely archival purposes in the open-air Odeon of Herodes Atticus, the sound is surprisingly crisp. A valuable record of a great singer.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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