Wednesday 18 October 2017

Passionate performance of true genius

Andrew McKimm

Angela Gheorghiu is someone who was seemingly put on the planet to remind us that most operas are founded on passion and sex.

The Romanian soprano with the million-dollar voice and the hour-glass figure transfixed her worshiping audience at Monday's sold-out concert.

One felt many times on witnessing her impossibly fluid glissandos and explosive top-notes that she is one of nature's true vocal geniuses.

With her graceful and astonishingly pure legato technique, Gheorghiu is one of the great vocalists of her time.

She has the ability to live inside every note, making each one count.

Nothing is thrown away and every moment of her performance is imbued with an almost primeval passion.

Following her last-minute cancellation last year, there was a palpable air of expectation in the auditorium as the audience breathlessly wondered if she would actually appear.

She eventually appeared on stage in a cream dress, a lithe and sparkling presence, before commencing with Giordani's Caro mio ben.

Her rendering of Handel's Lascia ch'io pianga was both gripping and heart-breaking.

She has the rich, passionate vibrato of Callas but is more comfortable and pure in all registers.

After the intermission, she sang Bizet's Habanera from Carmen.

Other soprani merely sing Carmen. For those five minutes Gheorghiu was Carmen.

She closed on O mio babbino caro and Un bel di Vedremo, at which point her audience broke away from its spellbound state to deliver a standing ovation.

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