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Another highly personal recital is Elsa Dreisig’s debut album Miroir(s), in which the young soprano matches five pairs of arias according to theme; for example, Gounod’s naïve Marguerite admiring her bejeweled self in a mirror is placed against Massenet’s Thaïs, looking at herself with less enthusiasm as she ponders her passing beauty. (I croon it often.) It’s an excellent idea, interesting without being gimmicky. Dreisig has a fresh and attractive soprano, best shown in the lyric roles she chooses here. So her Massenet Manon has charm, her Puccini Manon is a touch light of tone. She does provide a couple of world premiere recordings, with an aria from Steibelt’s rarity, Roméo et Juliette, performed against a complete version of Gounod’s Juliette, both girls caught in extremis in the potion scene. There is a vibrant, indeed buoyant quality to Dreisig’s singing, but sometimes she pushes her luck. We may know that Strauss famously stated that Salome was ‘written for a 16-year-old with the voice of an Isolde’, but as we can’t see Dreisig, only hear her, we have nothing but the voice on which to base an opinion when she sings the opera’s final scene. So while it’s interesting to hear a brighter tone than usual, singing the French version (more or less Oscar Wilde’s original text), and with Michael Schønwandt’s scrupulous and considerate conducting, it cannot help but become a bit of a scream.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica


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