Hungarian Studio Orchestra
Á la c’ARTe Choir
“If revelation exists, for me this is it. In this three-and a half minute scene Klára Kolonits wrote the opera history. ”
“Klára Kolonits is all set for a long list of great bel canto roles: to be precise, she is just promptly waiting for the Hungarian State Opera to put on stage the ever-popular, or newly- popular operas written in the bel canto epoque.”
“In these four movements Kolonits shows everything, that one may understand under bel canto singing definition. Which I find the most important, is the fact that the singer is not putting any restriction on herself choosing this repertoire (as one may think) but exactly on the contrary.”
“This piece itself is an overblown sense of triumph, an unfolding spell of becoming the queen and of course impeccably mastered cascade of vocal fireworks as well. Klára Kolonits is ascending the throne.”
“Bel Canto Reloaded has been issued in December 2014 and quickly received unanimously enthusiastic reviews from the critics and the audience. Its title and the cover likewise reveal the main idea behind the project: that the Italian school of beautiful singing should not be considered merely a dusty museum item, it is alive and flourishing, capable to transmit infinite palette of human emotions.”
“I listened through my three favourite sopranos’ whole repertoire and I came to the conclusion, that each of them is choosing variations that suit best her voice, so that she can unleash her imagination to show what she is able to do. With Trionfai! we got the score, sat down at the piano, I learnt it with Dani and we tried many variations, going up wherever possible. All the high F’s are the effect of one crazy afternoon, when we were just playing around and then we said: ok, let it stay like this.”
G. Rossini: Il Barbiere di Siviglia
Una voce poco fà
Bellini: I Capuleti e i Montecchi
Oh, quante volte
Donizetti: Linda di Chamounix
O luce di quest’anima
Bellini: I Puritani
Qui la voce
Santo di patria indefinito amor
Verdi: I Lombardi
Te Vergin Santa invoco
Donizetti: Anna Bolena
Al dolce guidami castel natio
Donizetti: Lucrezia Borgia
Era desso il figlio mio
Verdi: Macbeth (1847 version)
budapest, erkel theatre, october 16th 2016
featuring: Szabolcs Brickner, Alexandru Agache, István Kovács, Hungarian State Opera Orchestra
conductor: Dániel Dinyés
szentendre, august 13th 2016
featuring: Hungarian Studio Orchestra
conductor: Dániel Dinyés
elte budapest, aula magna, november 28th 2015
Bellini: I Capuleti ed i Montecchi – Oh, quante volte
Bellini: I Capuleti ed i Montecchi – O mia Giulietta!
Verdi: Luisa Miller – Tu puniscimi o signore!
Donizetti: Lucrezia Borgia – Era desso
Donizetti: Lucia di Lammermoor – Lucia, perdona…
Verdi: Macbeth – Trionfai!
featuring: Apollónia Szolnoki, Péter Balczó, Tamás Clementis
piano: Dániel Dinyés
Recordings entirely dedicated to the early 19th century Italian opera (in common language called the bel canto) are rare. Even more infrequent are those that end up being utterly exciting, so that the lovers of the genre tend to be faithful to the great stars of the past, who presented themselves in this repertoire. This CD of Klára Kolonits is therefore really an exception, with its varied, difficult and for the most part fantastically performed program.
The CD begins in a sweet tone, with Barbiere di Siviglia. Written for a contralto, the Role of Rosina has been promptly picked up by coloratura sopranos, and some of them treated the score with an abundance of interpretational liberty. The famous line of Rossini after having listened to such a Una voce poco fa, says: “It was very pretty, Madame, who wrote it?”. Kolonits doesn’t unleash herself to this extent and her interpretation remains in the rossinian style, with the exception of anachronical final note. With all due respect, the performance paradoxically lacks a tiny bit of craziness, leaving the listener with slightly mixed feelings.
Aria and cabaletta of Linda di Chamounix, on the contrary, offers a really delightful festival of variations and ornaments. Giving full justice to this semiseria role, the singer places herself in the line of the famous predecessors such as Mariella Devia and Edita Gruberova.
The entrance of Odabella is without a doubt one of the brightest points of this recording. Singing with rare aplomb and freedom, Kolonits reminds us in an indeed electrifying way, that the roots of early Verdi aren’t far from bel canto (at that time, Donizetti was writing his last operas). From this repertoire we can also hear the rare Trionfai from the first version of Macbeth – for once sung with the necessary means. It’s rare to hear Verdi’s da capos with variations and convincing variations to it. This aria is a real feat and innovation in the interpretations of early Verdi operas, without falling apart from his style.
The mad scene from Puritani might require a deeper introspection: the interpretation is impeccable yet a bit distant. The variations, however, together with the intriguing and completely new cadenza are highly original. The scenes from Anna Bolena and Lucrezia Borgia are simply amazing. Trills, rapid vocalises, piquées seem all to be a child’s play for the artist, and so even if at times we may miss a bigger volume, we forgive this detail with pleasure. Let us add that Kolonits knows perfectly how to differentiate various moods of the great Bolena scene, all the way to final cabaletta, sung maybe in a slightly rapid tempo. If we want to continue the play of comparisons, we would turn rather towards Beverly Sills (with more beautiful, if slightly paler timbre) than Joan Sutherland.
It would be unfair to reduce the Hungarian soprano to a simple vocal phenomenon, a cadenza machine. Her interpretations of the slower arias are very successful, and if sometimes the colouring might have been more elaborated, she makes up for it with precise accentiation of the text. “Oh quante volte” from I Capuleti e i Montecchi or Giselda’s prayer from Lombardi manifest beautiful interpretation poetry with wonderful pianos and radiant, covered high diminuendos.
Correct orchestra and choir are conducted effectively by Dániel Dinyés – however a maestro with more experience in this repertoire might have been able to put the CD on even a higher level than it is.
It’s a week I have Klára Kolonits’ new album stick in my cd player. Since then I am continuously trying to describe, what do I hear. The task is double: I write a page, then proofreading I take half of the ecstatic superlatives out, then I play the CD again and with the same passion I write even more – and this is still just not enough. I find the album stupendous, it impressed me at the first sight – at the first hearing(…).
Already the naturally noble timbre, that is such a rare feature for a soprano, is quite impressive. (…)Two different moods alternate for the major part on the Kolonits’ CD, and both of them are delivered ingeniously. In the melancholic aria of Giulietta from the Bellini’s opera the singer operates mainly with lyrical colours, sings great legatos, melting them into each other gracefully, as if they were constructed on one single breath. Linda di Chamounix’ aria follows, beguiling with charming virtuosity; the coloraturas just run spontaneously, as if it was the most natural thing in the world to flit up and down throughout the octaves (…).
The Elvira’s aria from I Puritani at its beginning is again lyrical, enchanting with its well-balanced precision, just to become the untrammeled bravura technique explosion in the faster part. For a long time I resisted, but here comes the time to mention Karola Ágai’s name. (…) It’s miraculous, but there’s still a lot to be heard.
In the next part of the album the palette gets yet enrichened by two fragments from Verdi operas. The Odabella’s aria hits with a furious dramatism – and with the idea, that this kind of dramatic coloratura roles might mean a real perspective for the singer. Giselda’s prayer from I Lomardi follows. Practically each and every sound is linked in an endless long piano: a wonderful example for the character’s and situation’s portrayal.
We may find a whole Anna Bolena section on the CD: in these four movements Kolonits shows everything, that one may understand under bel canto singing definition. Which I find the most important, is the fact that the singer is not putting any restriction on herself choosing this repertoire (as one may think) but exactly on the contrary. With broad and fearless use of the bel canto elements her dramatic expression gets even richer. This part of the album gets crowned with the final cabaletta of Lucrezia Borgia: it won’t be too much if I say that it bears the comparison with whichever of the recordings I’ve ever heard.
The true crown is yet to come, but I had literally no idea about that until I heard the last track. It was Verdi himself, who took the Lady’s Trionfai! cabaletta out from the score of the first (1847) version of his Macbeth. I truly suspect he wouldn’t have done this, if he had heard the piece in Klára Kolonits’ performance. The scene depicted is the one, when the overwhelming euphoria about the possibility of becoming the queen takes over Lady’s mind for the first time. While Macbeth just forced himself to go to kill Banquo, the woman is already triumphing, goes unleashedly insane, passionately frenzy. I think that Verdi planned it like this, but the interpreters of the role of his epoqie (and all of the 20th century ones that I heard) were able to transmit only a partial, toned down madness with the piece, so that the composer thought that the music is faulty and swapped the scene with interesting, exciting, but completely different aria La luce langue.
Yet here Kolonits goes the whole hog, does everything that is possible within the genre. She creates with dramatic accents, animated tempo, incredible sparks of the top notes: and with high F-s she simply brings the madness of Lady Macbeth to the infinity. If revelation exists, for me this is it. In this three-and a half minute scene Klára Kolonits wrote the opera history. I don’t know who might have been the last Hungarian singer who managed to do such a thing, but at the moment it is really not essential.
(…)It might seem a little audacious to record an album like this (I don’t know exactly how many such publications we may find on market but probably not a lot); it is rare, that a singer feels equally at home in killer coloraturas and in slow arias as well, and what’s more – without theatre magic, with singing only at her disposal. It’s not enough to tell that Kolonits’ CD is alluring: it is radiating with beauty that we expect from singing an with wonder of listening arias.
The album is built with one Rossini’s, two Bellini’s, numerous Verdi’s and Donizetti’s arias and scenes, concentrating on virtuosity, but we do not have an impression of listening to mere technical perfection: the emotional world of the arias is omnipresent as well. A singer needs a lot of knowledge, and also a talent to commit such a thing. Even if we do not really get to see on stage the bel canto operas, this album shows us how these arias might sound. I suppose the charming richness of coloraturas makes the album attractive for the most of the listeners, but among finely selected arias we may find also more peaceful ones. The slow fragments play on emotions, sounds are never empty and dynamic changes contribute to the final effect. (…) In addition, we get a couple of such arias from Kolonits, that are not just simply of a greatest quality, but are also worth of closer study: such is Donizetti’s fragment from Linda di Chamounix, quilted with fanfarous coloratura sparkles, astonishingly sounding high notes and rolling chromatic scale threads. Such is the closing number as well, Verdi’s Lady Macbeth aria, in which, next to sublime coloraturas, we may admire powerful, bright and impressive parade of very high notes.
The excerpt from Verdi’s I Lombardi, maybe the most wonderful on the disc – and as for the atmosphere surely it is – the slow Giselda’s aria is a good example for the singer’s sensibility and atmosphere-building abilities. Kolonits does not regard virtuosity as the only important factor – and that is also a reason for which we may find peaceful pieces on the cd, those expressing the deepest feelings. The beginning of Elvira’s aria from Bellini’s I Puritani belongs to the slower ones as well and is simply miraculous, not getting boring neither for a second, but even builds tension. One should not forget the singer’s ability to create dramatic situations neither (as in Verdi’s aria of Odabella from Attila).
We get a longer excerpt from Donizetti’s Anna Bolena and this is the part of the album that truly demonstrates Kolonits’ wide variety of timbres, coloratura abilities, dramatic power and tenderness, relationship with the singing partners, the equilibrium – her goal is not to put herself in the first line, this is already written in in music. Basing on that we might really appreciate an opportunity to listen to the whole piece in the Opera.
The opening number is Rossini’s famous aria from the Barber of Seville; the author wrote it for mezzo, but many sopranos sing it with great enthusiasm, of course in higher tessitura. In Kolonits’ rendition the aria is pure virtuosity. Her intonation for me is incredible, she is truly able to sing higher the sharps than – theoretically – corresponding flats. The coloraturas have been borrowed partially from Beverly Sills and other great sopranos, and some of the ornaments were written by Dániel Dinyés as well.
The album is enrichened by the presence of singing partners in the persons of Atala Schöck, Géza Gabor and Donát Varga, moreover we can hear Á la c’ARTe choir (led by Philipp György). Exceptionally beautiful is the sound of the Hungarian Studio Orchestra, and the solos – especially the horn and harp ones – are to be praised. The whole is conducted by Dániel Dinyés. It just feels good for the ear and for the soul to listen this selection, the listener may admire the variety of the composers’ ideas, all sorts of music material, the singing voice’s miracle. The self-published album is a fantastic, shining example for the others, and a great gift not only for the admirers and connoisseurs of the vocal music.
Impressive statement and powerful impulse – these two motives underpin the album listener, and being Klára Kolonits’ production so bewitching, the elated critic shares the same point of view which is hereby announced. Klára Kolonits is all set for a long list of great bel canto roles: to be precise, she is just promptly waiting for the Hungarian State Opera to put on stage the ever-popular, or newly- popular operas written in the bel canto epoque.
Without doubts it is the biggest, and the least understandable gap in the theater’s repertoire, especially with the international trend that is favouring the bel canto opera productions – and judging from the popularity of the MET-transmissions, or Edita Gruberova’s appearances, one can see genuine interest for this genre in the Hungarian audience as well. Well, it is true that according to bel canto rules the main roles need to be performed by virtuoso, but here in front of us stands a coloratura soprano with immense lyrical expression abilities – and it slightly surprised us, in the good meaning. Unquestionably, Klára Kolonits deserves our great respect (for quite a long time already she is the secret crush and much tumultuously praised favourite for many opera lovers), however this album shows her capacities in a totally different light. Of course, it does not come out of nowhere: already the 2013 Luisa Miller in Erkel Theater revealed her compellingly rich personality, that undeniably contributes to the creation of believable character within the role’s musical borders. Even nowadays one might have prejudices towards bel canto, in particular about it being cold bravura and nothing more: that is why it really needs the human warmth, of course next to the impeccable and secure technique. The opening track is also the most popular one: Rosina’s cavatina “Una voce poco fa” from the first act of the Barber of Seville. Virtuoso, masterfully led solo, slightly more feminine than we might expect, without coquetry and flirtatiousness and coloured with warm timbre instead – which can be considered one of the most personal characteristics of the whole album. The Bellini’s romanza (“Oh, quante volte” – I Capuleti e i Montecchi, first act) radiates with deepest melancholy and lyricism, but without any shade of being just pleasingly pretty.
Equally important I find the perfectly accentuated pronunciation of the words (…) and emotional harp accompaniment, able to transmit subtle mood changes. In general, the Hungarian Studio Orchestra and its conductor, Dániel Dinyés made a great job as well: same applies for the Á la cARTe chorus, led by Philipp György. Instead of listing here all the twelve tracks, let us say a word about the personal favourites! One of them is aria of Elvira from the second act of I Puritani („Qui la voce…Vien, diletto”(…)), Klára Kolonits shows with such an expressive charm one of the most essential moments of the opera, (often seen as cliché) that only a stone-hearted listener would remain unmoved by it. Another favourite is the scene of Odabella („Santo di Patria…Da te questo!”) from Verdi’s Attila – nowadays rarely heard cry of a patriot maiden-heroina, believably expressed with strikingly current voice; another yet the Anna Bolena’s scene, that is simply yearning to be performed on stage; and such is the Verdi’s Lady Macbeth aria – Trionfai! – the last track of the album, lying on the border of the bel canto style – that in the end got cut out by the composer himself. This piece itself is an overblown sense of triumph, an unfolding spell of becoming the queen and of course impeccably mastered cascade of vocal fireworks as well. Klára Kolonits is ascending the throne.
In the first half of the 19th century Italian star-singers actually expected from the composers to write such a pieces for them, in which they would be able to show in its whole glory their virtuoso singing technique. For that reason usually the operas were composed for specific artists, and so the roles got adjusted for the exceptionally gifted performers. Also because of that bel canto operas are not that often played in the world’s music theaters. However, if there is a singer with such a special talent – as Sutherland, Gruberova, or Callas – who is able to perform multiple Bellini and Donizetti heroines on a high level, it would be a shoot in the foot not to put these pieces on stage.
The Hungarian public is in a fortunate situation, in which the State Opera has at its disposal such an extraordinarily talented primadonna in the person of Klára Kolonits. It is proven by the first solo album of the artist, Bel Canto Reloaded. On the disc we may find a cross-section of finely selected excerpts taken from rarely played operas of Rossini, Donizetti, Bellini and Verdi.
Being a dramatic coloratura soprano, Kolonits is able to interpret lyrical roles equally well. Beautiful examples for that are Bellini pieces: Giulietta’s romanza from the first act of I Capuleti e I Montecchi is an oneirical, emotional reverie in its whole, but the first part of Elvira’s (from I Puritani) operates with lyrical colours as well. Kolonits interprets both perfectly: Giulietta’s romanza if full of wonderful legatos and Elvira’s aria is blessed with a palette dynamic subtleties. Rosina’s Una voce poco fa (from Rossini’s Barber of Seville) and the aria of Linda di Chamounix both open great possibilites for the singer to let shine her technical virtuosity. Kolonits’ coloraturas roll and trill gracefully between octaves, as if it was the most natural thing in the world. In the closing scene of Anna Bolena she impersonates genuinely the title character who although having been put on the edge of madness, merits better fate.
Her interpretation of the last moments of the English Queen results so overwhelming, that it is no overstatement to say that she would be one of the greatest interpreters of the title roles in the modern performance practice of this piece. But not only Anna Bolena, but also Lucrezia Borgia’s final aria proves, that her place is right among the greatest singers of belcanto.
Among the excerpts coming from the early operas of Verdi we may find for instance Te vergin santa invoco – prayer from I Lombardi, full of wonderful legatos and long piano harmonies, which is in addition a perfect example of atmosphere-building. Complete different character is Odabella from Attila, whose Santo di patria aria got into the selection as well – and in which Kolonits is concentrating all the attention on her dramatic passages. The same can be said about the greatest surprise of the CD, completely unknown piece from Macbeth, the Trionfai! cabaletta of the maniacally wild Lady overwhelmed with illusion of power, which has been removed by Verdi from the score after the premiere. Kolonits pulls the madness up to extremity with tense tempo, punctuation and precise high notes.
Nevertheless not only the primadonna of Bel Canto Reloaded but also the conductor deserves attention. Dániel Dinyés’ exceptional musicality and clear hand create proper orchestral background for Kolonits. His punctual, well-chosen tempos result in brilliant and rich accompaniment, which contributes to the expression of lyrical and dramatic moods. Klára Kolonits with her solo CD gave a beautiful proof of being exceptionally talented singer. (…)
(…)Klára Kolonits and her husband Dániel Dinyés very carefully chose the repertoire for the album. It spreads among 3 decades – The Barber of Seville had its premiere in 1816, Macbeth – in 1847 The cd brings therefore its listener to the golden age of bel canto, to the fourth decade of 19th century – to the age, when two things stood in the center of the opera: the primadonna and her voice. The leading – mainly female – parts’ main purpose was to show all kinds the vocal virtuosity of the singers to the listener.
Klára Kolonits gives us first of all beautiful, full of life singing, but the artist is not only revealing the secrets of the music scores: she is indeed playfully bathing in the coloratura possibilities that were given to the 19th century primadonnas. Each aria speaks about another state of mind and soul, so that the soprano has an opportunity to get into the skin of all kinds of characters from the ethereal Giulietta, through death-sentenced Anna Boleyn, up to the brave Odabella – and only if she had not been an opera singer, the stage personality would have not involuntarily flare up in her. In these moments the drama puts back the “beautiful singing” aside, and papier-mache figures come into flesh and blood.
Arias of multifarious mood are brought together very precisely, they show all the shades of bel canto world. The major part of nine featured pieces has not been recorded by any Hungarian artist until now. Klára Kolonits shows how uniquely one can ornament Rosina’s cavatina for instance: if someone has enough fantasy and technique to do so. In addition, the virtuosity is never an art for art’s sake, and the soprano is in her absolute prime, as if her voice simply had no limit (…).
This CD bears some kind of well-understood audacity. As if Klára Kolonits threw down her gauntlet, saying: “I can do this and that, you are most welcome to do it after me!”. The singer’s secret might be the fact, that after many years she still passionately loves what she is doing and believes in it.
It gives her incredible strength – in this world, that has lost its faith. (…) It’s very exciting, what the Hungarian artist might think on this or that piece – and not only a whole aria, she actually has her own opinion on every single note in the score, which is interesting and unique by itself already. A lot of artists are respected, a lot of them have fans, but Klára Kolonits, as it seems, is simply loved
– and this is the greatest thing that a singer, a person can get. And for those who love her, this CD is a gift. And why isn’t a world star someone, who sings like this? Maybe because Klára Kolonits is of some kind. And it seems that the managers and directors of our times do not really know what to do with a kind, they like plastic, nondescript figures more. We can be proud and happy about having such a kind of a singer as Klára Kolonits is of!
(…) It’s not easy to be a soprano: physiologically it is the most popular type of voice, and there are numerous good singers among them: yet we need just one in the opera. (…) And while nowadays everything is specialized, the soprano Fach is also divided; who sings Mozart, does not sing Wagner, and what’s more, the personality is equally important: who produces joyful coloraturas, is not the same who bids farewell to the world in a great symphonic tableau. Klára Kolonits is way above side lines and what’s more, she does not stop there: has enough energy and will to create self-managed album out of her favourite arias. You have everything in here, from Donizetti’s charming Linda de Chamounix up to dramatic Verdi’s Odabella – and all that is believable. (…) An active role plays the colorful, well led orchestra as well. The soprano is flexible: sweet in joyful laughter or broad as violent storm: and many more of what does she find expressive in the old sheet music. Up and down, and what’s even more difficult: everything in the middle register sounds perfectly. I would like to bring to your attention Klára Kolonits’ interpretations, on the album and on stage. (…) I hope there are still quite a few of us who are looking for genuine, true interpretations, and who wish genuine singing renditions to be the essence of opera; and not genuine, yet roaring exhibitions.
The New Grove dictionary of Music defines bel canto in multiple ways. According to one of them, the formal one, it means the way of singing in the times of Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti. The other, determining the content, says that bel canto is such a style of singing, in which the beauty of voice, expressed through richly decorated melodies, is in the center of attention. Klára Kolonits’ Bel Canto Reloaded CD finds the equilibrium between both. Next to the great triad also Verdi appears on the disc – but only in some excerpts of his early operas. The pieces have been assorted very fortunately, tastefully balancing the virtuosity and the meaningful musical content. The second Grove’s definition is taken into consideration in the person of Kolonits Klára herself: with her charming art and grace she delivers exceptional experience to the listener. The Hungarian Studio Orchestra (concertmaster: Balázs Bujtor) under the baton of Dániel Dinyés, Á la c’ARTe chorus led by Philipp György and three accompanying soloists: Atala Schöck, Donát Varga and Géza Gábor all contribute to the final striking effect of the CD. As such, the album content is of impeccable quality and it is much more difficult to write about such an achievement. Where do I start?
Let’s say, at the beginning, with the only piece by Rossini, and probably the most famous one as of all the composer’s works, as of the featured arias on the album – Una voce poco fa from the Barber of Seville. It is perfect as a greeting and presentation anyway: in a well-known piece we can judge the given performance and compare to the other singers. Already at the first hearing we can admire the infinite culture of the singer, who is simply swimming in the freedom given by the style, and whose coloratura is similar to a flow of pearls, and simply: wonderful. And how different is Rosina’s full of life figure from soft pureness and of Giulietta, who is coming next, fluttering as a little bird – and of course, Bellini’s atmosphere building, soul depicting abilities were coming close to their best when he was composing I Capuleti e i Montecchi. Kolonits naturally and radiantly appears in this role and this musical setting as well – and quickly we get to the conclusion, that she does in everything.
The third number is aria of Linda de Chamounix by Donizetti: so silvery is the sounding bell in Kolonits’ voice among the descending staccato passages, that we just stop the player and go back a couple of bars because we never heard such a thing. We get assured that Kolonits’ intonation is not only impeccable in the melodious cantabile-s, but in the most virtuoso coloraturas as well – and such a thing can be said about really few singers – such as the fact, that even in the highest notes, that can be barely written on the note paper, her voice is not harsh, she just maintains without strain the beauty and roundness of her voice. This is surely even more exceptional bravery.
But as we listen the CD, it is not the coloratura virtuosity that we admire all the time: more and more attention we devote to Klára Kolonits’ magical soul depicting, atmosphere building and telepathy-abilities. She is performing flawlessly all the ornamentations and always with such ease and grace, that we do not even notice: even the most acrobatic parts are achieved in such a way, that the very particular situation and character radiates through them, and not the performing artist: and such interpretation depth and genuineness is truly deserving praise.
Now, when we had a look at the most important factors of the suggestive power of the album, it will be enough if we just mark another couple of memorable numbers. Such is Elvira’s aria from I Puritani (Qui la voce) – its depressive, yet hypnotically beautiful beginning leads to strikingly dramatic and exultant finale, which gives Klára Kolonits chance to show herself in a more decisive and expressive way. Such is Donizetti’s Anna Bolena famous and tragically powerful closing scene, which thanks to a great decision can be found on the CD in its 18-minutes-long whole, and works as a true bonus-game for the artist. And equally poignant is the Giselda’s prayer from Verdi’s I Lombardi, one can truly realize his faith hearing it: the genius of Verdi already in 1843 was doubtless for those who were willing to listen. I won’t go on like this – please just listen the Bel Canto Reloaded album!
Where the times are, whole opera and aria CDs featuring Hungarian artists appeared one after another? A fresh exception would be the last years’ publications of our music theatre, but there was practically no example for a solo CD of an opera soloist. And because of that this is a very good news to announce, that the solo album of the Opera’s great coloratura, Klára Kolonits, appeared in December and is already taking central place in the exhibition of a Viennese music store. Twelve excerpts of nine operas of four composers made it to the final selection and appeared on the album, under the baton of Dániel Dinyés, the artist’s husband. Soprano arias of Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti and Verdi are sung with virtuoso technique and inspiring interpretation. Out of visionary work of the creators a simply joyful CD came into light. (…)
The belcanto repertoire is not limited to endless coloratura passages and vocal jewellery, as it is often and mistakenly claimed. Although it does require impeccable and secure technique, its essence is the tradition of ornamentation, which poses inevitable question of style. Asked, how did she found out how she would like to ornate the sung pieces, Klára explains:
I listened through my three favourite sopranos’ whole repertoire and I came to the conclusion, that each of them is choosing variations that suit best her voice, so that she can unleash her imagination to show what she is able to do. With Trionfai! we got the score, sat down at the piano, I learnt it with Dani and we tried many variations, going up wherever possible. All the high F’s are the effect of one crazy afternoon, when we were just playing around and then we said: ok, let it stay like this.
Said so, any artist gifted with great musicality and sense of style is able to enrich every piece with her own cadenzas. Belcanto gives an endless space for creativity, interpretation and expression, which makes it timeless: any singer can make it her own, which results in free and personal interpretation. The ornamentation, however, is not an empty virtuoso show: it should express even deeper the aria’s atmosphere and the dramatic situation, in which we find the character.
This is such a repertoire for me – Klára continues – as a perfectly tailored dress, I can look my best wearing it – and I can sound my best singing bel canto. These roles contain sort of equilibrium between lyrical, dramatic and coloratura challenges. In this repertoire I found all the things set together, that I looked for separately, in vain – or I tried to express separately, in vain as well. The dramatism of insanity in Lady Macbeth or in Lucia, the fatal passion in Luisa Miller, ferocious chest tones in Lucrezia Borgia or in Odabella, and in the same time fervent lyricism is present as well, in Bellini’s cavatinas for instance.
Interview for Café Momus, February 6th 2015
The album is one-of-a-kind journey through stages and shades of a woman’s life. From witty Rosina and sweet Linda, through heroic Odabella and ethereal, pious Giselda it reaches more ambivalent figures like Lucrezia Borgia or Anna Bolena and is crowned with fanfarous Trionfai of Lady Macbeth, incrusted with numerous high Fs. As stated in one of the reviews,
This piece itself is an overblown sense of triumph, an unfolding spell of becoming the queen and of course impeccably mastered cascade of vocal fireworks as well. Klára Kolonits is ascending the throne.
Ferenc László, Muzsika, February 2015