The REGINA RESNIK Pages
A Kurt Weill Celebration
Rossini at Danny Kaye
Carmen in Omaha
Met Ring '97: Side Shows
at Danny Kaye
in San Diego
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and HERE for other Resnik recordings.
To all Regina Resnik fans with vivid memories of her legendary performances at the MET and the great houses of Europe, to those of us who know her only through some of her opera recordings - because either we were never in the right place at the right time OR we were born too late, and to those who simply want to hear the sound of a great mezzo-soprano voice -
this new CD release of pure Resnik is a gift.
Classical found the master of a recording made shortly after Ms. Resnik's
first song recital as a mezzo-soprano, given in 1967 as part of the renowned
Hunter College Concert Series, and has now released it in its entirety
on digitally remastered CD. The original LP, under the now defunct Epic
label, was inspired by the song recital but did not have enough space
for all the songs in the programme.
And what a programme! It is wonderfully diverse yet so thoughtfully put together it bears the wholeness and the oneness of a great song cycle. Indeed, in the hands of a lesser singer, an assemblage of French, Spanish, Russian and German art songs, could have ended up being rather like a smorgasbord - gratifying, but not quite the deeply moving sensory experience this album is. In this, her only commercially recorded song recital, Ms. Resnik, masterfully accompanied by pianist Richard Woitach, serves up a full plate, as punctilious with the poetry as she is with the music. In a recent interview with FanFaire, she revealed that the songs in the programme were her "finds", personally chosen to keep the audience interested throughout the recital. There can be no doubt that she succeeded. The aperitif of delightfully wistful French songs, is followed by the plaintive laments of 18th century French arias by Martini and Gaveaux, which in turn subtly signal the change of mood that takes place in the next set of songs - of desire, love and regret - by the Spanish composer Turina. In the next course, Ms. Resnik's famed rich, dark mezzo-soprano plumbs the depths of the Russian soul in poems of pain and sorrow set to song by Tchaikovsky and Prokokiev. (In all the songs, the highs hint at her once celebrated soprano voice. Indeed, a couple of the songs were part of her soprano repertory, now sung in a different key.) For the grand finale, Ms. Resnik first stirs the soul with heart-wrenching Mahler (e.g., Das irdische Leben, Nicht wiedersehen!), then delights with the buoyant Lob des hohen Verstands, also from Des Knaben Wunderhorn. And so the recital ends as it begins, delightful first and last pieces bracketing a magnificent journey in song that takes one through the full gamut of human emotion.
But wait, this CD has more! A bonus - Madame Flora's soliloquy from the last scene of Act II of Gian Carlo Menotti's 2-act opera The Medium. Excerpted from a 1968 LP recording (with the Columbia Chamber Orchestra, Jorge Mester, conducting) of the complete work under the CBS label, it underscores Ms. Resnik's reputation as one of opera's great dramatic singing actresses. The delivery is so spellbinding one cannot but feel Madame Flora's fearful anguish at the fast unravelling of her world. The bonus track makes its point - it leaves the listener waiting and wishing for more. Now.... wouldn't it be great if Sony Classical took the next logical step - a reissue of The Medium on digitally remastered CD?
P.S. Everything about this CD is beautifully crafted, including the packaging. This is not your typical CD reissue. The cover art - front, back, and inside back - is very tastefully done. And instead of the usual dryly written artist's bio, the booklet has a warm personal introduction to the recital programme written by Ms. Resnik herself. There are also precious pictures from some of Ms. Resnik's celebrated performances - a bonus to her fans! Well done, Sony.
Click PLAY button to hear music clips.
(REAL PLAYER G2 plug-in required. It's free - Download now.)
Tu pupila es azul
Sred' shumnovo bala
Das irdische Leben
Lob des hohen Verstands
Afraid, am I afraid?
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