Archive | December 2015
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For this final installment of “December Divas,” I wanted to highlight what I believe is the finest Christmas album yet produced by an opera singer: “Christmas with Leontyne Price.”
Vocal concerns take a back seat in this album. It’s a showcase of all of Tebaldi’s strengths and a masterclass in phrasing, building to a climax, and telling a story with music, a capstone to a long and distinguished singing career.
The consistent presence of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, coupled with the Columbia Symphony Orchestra, renders the recording heavy-handed to a modern listener. It’s the musical equivalent of finishing off an entire pint of eggnog in one night. Christmassy, yes, but at what cost? You’ll be sick of it before too long.
It’s not a classical Christmas album, but it’s nice background music and gives insight to where Fleming’s head it at right now as an artist.
It’s not a perfect Christmas album, but it’s a charming collection of secular Christmas music and a significant historical document from the career of a great singer.
Gheorghiu’s phrasing in English is sometimes odd and not every song on the album is cut out for the happy-go-lucky delivery almost every piece receives, but the holidays are about happiness, and this album has happiness in spades.
Sutherland manages to shape the familiar phrases of classic carols into something truly unique, and her bright, ringing voice communicates all of the joys of the Christmas season.