Thursday, 13 April 2017

Sonya Yoncheva

Sonya Yoncheva. A pretty woman. A lovely voice. Wonderful music (in arias from Handel operas). Her latest CD is a compilation of Mr Händel's Greatest Hits.

The highly competent orchestra (Academia Montis Regalis) is relegated somewhat far back, which is a shame, since Handel's instrumental parts are always extremely interesting. In Handel's opera arias, the orchestra is never a mere backing group, as in so much operatic music. We need to hear the orchestra! When Ms Yoncheva sings, “Traditore!” or “Amore!” are given the same sound and inflections. Sopranos should listen to Maria Callas, or Lorraine Hunt, or Joyce DiDonato, concerning the ability to convey meaning within the sound. Handel's marvellous music and melodic gift convey the meaning of what is being sung; but so should the singer be able to colour the voice accordingly. A non-stop beautiful mezzo-forte really is not good enough.

Ms Yoncheva's accent, whether in Italian or English, is carefully-trained East of Europe (Bulgaria). The CD has a “B+” from me for beautiful music and beautiful singing. But every aria on the CD can be found better communicated. Violinists (and pianists) take note: a beautiful sound is really not enough. You need to be able to communicate the music behind the notes.

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