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Wagnerian soprano Lise Davidsen is the much-heralded young Norwegian singer who burst onto the scene in 2015, winning both the Operalia and Queen Sonja competitions and giving notice of a large and exciting voice. Following this up with a series of important debuts, with more to come, (she already has plans for the next five to six years), the world awaits the arrival of the new dramatic soprano superstar: names such as Flagstad and Nilsson are bandied about on social media, potential roles discussed, every performance analysed. So, no pressure then. Davidsen releases her debut album amidst a welter of publicity, and on the whole it is a success. She repeats her competition-winning aria, ‘Dich teure Halle’ (Tannhäuser) to thrilling effect, floats the prayer from the same opera, and gives us a grand and generously sung account of Strauss’s Ariadne. Continuing with that composer she offers some lieder, concluding with the Four Last Songs. Davidsen’s voice is undeniably voluminous and rich, focused and unforced. She also has the luxury of Esa-Pekka Salonen’s refined conducting. But a couple of quibbles slightly spoil the party: she has a mannerism of leaning into the vibrato on held notes, and the recording does not favour the top of the voice. Why bother with the Four Last Songs, entering a highly competitive market just to highlight a bland quality to the interpretation? But Davidsen is 32, seems eminently sensible and has a major instrument to develop. The opera world is very much hers for the taking.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica


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