The Queen’s statement

Muzsika, Ferenc László, February 2015

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.

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