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Following her superb Katya in Katya Kabanova, her Emilia Marty in The Makropulos Case, recorded live at the London Coliseum, and her Butterfly for Chandos Opera in English, we were delighted to have enticed Cheryl Barker into our studios to record these thrilling samples of her dramatic artistry in music both familiar and fresh.
The repertoire chosen for the solo disc includes works, actually performed by her on stage, as well as arias Cheryl has always enjoyed listening to.
‘There were two arias that I was very keen to include one was the scene from The End of the Affair by the brilliant American composer Jake Heggie. I premiered the role of Sarah in Houston and I think this scene is dramatic and fantastically composed. I am very proud to have recorded the aria Each Afternoon from the Violins of St Jacques by Malcolm Williamson, a fellow Australian. It is very atmospheric with its simply vocal line. I have also included some popular arias and some repertoire performed by Dame Joan Hammond with whom I studied with as a student.’
‘As an English speaker, performing these arias in English means that I can relay the emotions of the arias in my native language and I think it is interesting to an English speaking audience to hear the arias in their native tongue. Also, it is important to have an accurate translation of the original text and I think in these arias we have that.’
Francesco Cilea: Adriana Lecouvreur
Adriana Lecouvreur: Vedi ora, sono esauriti (Sung in English)
Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky: The Queen of Spades, Op. 68
The Queen of Spades, Op. 68, Act I: You need not close the windows just yet
Ruggero Leoncavallo: Pagliacci
Act I: Stridono lassu, liberamente
Act I: Nedda! … Silvio! A quest'ora che imprudenza!
Arrigo Boito: Mefistofele
Mefistofele, Act IV: The Night of the Classical Sabbath: La luna immobile innonda (Sung in English)
Jake Heggie: The End of the Affair
The End of the Affair: A Bargain and a Prayer
The Queen of Spades, Op. 68
The Queen of Spades, Op. 68, Act III: It's nearly midnight now
Richard Strauss: Arabella, Op. 79, TrV 263
Arabella, Op. 79, TrV 263, Act I: Er ist der Richtige nicht fur mich (Sung in English)
Adriana Lecouvreur, Act IV: Poveri fiori … (Sung in English)
Malcolm Williamson: The Violins of Saint-Jacques
The Violins of Saint-Jacques: How can I explain to you
Alfredo Catalani: La Wally
La Wally, Act I: Ebben? Ne andro lontana (Sung in English)
Arabella, Op. 79, TrV 263
Arabella, Op. 79, TrV 263, Act III: Das war sehr gut, Mandryka (Sung in English)
“Anguish… the keynote, coming across best in Margarita's prison aria from Boito's Mefistofele and Lisa's midnight soliloquy in Tchaikovsky's Queen of Spades.”
Awards Issue 2009
“Cheryl Barker is always clean in her placing of notes and clear in her articulation of the English words. …sometimes (as in the opening of the Arabella-Mandryka duet) she sings quite beautifully. …William Dazeley (surely one of our best baritones) has an attractive timbre, heard pleasingly throughout. David Parry's speeds tend to be a little too slow for my liking but the orchestral playing refined and responsive.”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.