Don Juan's Reckless Daughter

Pretentious and unflinching fan boy of the things I love- Opera, Music, Art, Tennis, Joni Mitchell, Literature.

All things lead to my blog.

The wonderful dramatic coloratura soprano Julia Varady singing Fiordiligi’s resolute aria ‘Come scoglio’ from Mozart’s opera Cosi fan tutte.

A borderline assoulta voice, capable of exploring all 3 facets of the female voice from deep, broiling contralto chest tones and singing high, flexible dramatic soprano coloratura with equal fluency. A repertoire that ranged from the great Verdi assoluta roles such as Abigaile in Nabucco to Liu in Turandot, but Mozart really was the medium where her rare vocal qualities were accentuated to their fullest.

In this recording, she supports both extremes of the registers seamlessly and carries a heroic weight and defiance through the recitative with excellently placed chest tones which is essential for Fiordiligi. The coloratura is also beautifully sharp, and coloured with shades of lovely legato that compliments the fiery fortissimo.

The intensity and level of expression she manages throughout is essentially how Mozart SHOULD be sang. Passionate, vividly and with life. Always with life.

Our natures are a lot like oil, mix us with anything else, and we strive to swim on top.

Joan Rivers.

Soprano Anita Cerquetti singing the aria ‘O re dei cieli’ from Spontini’s opera Agnese di Hohenstauffen.

Often categorised as a dramatic soprano and whilst the top notes are voluminous and somewhat metallic, she possessed a very warm, rich texture throughout the middle and lower extremes of her range that resembles more of a lyrico-spinto sound like Leontyne Price or Zinka Milanov.

A career cut desperately short by health and vocal problems, but a superb instrument when fully attuned in it’s prime. Her sense of tempo is quite remarkable in this recording, carrying the tones with excellent rhythm, phrasing and momentum into compelling crescendos throughout a rather taxing tessitura. Fabulous.

Now my charms are all o’erthrown,
And what strength I have’s mine own,
Which is most faint: now, ‘tis true,
I must be here confined by you,
Or sent to Naples. Let me not,
Since I have my dukedom got
And pardon’d the deceiver, dwell
In this bare island by your spell;
But release me from my bands
With the help of your good hands:
Gentle breath of yours my sails
Must fill, or else my project fails,
Which was to please. Now I want
Spirits to enforce, art to enchant,
And my ending is despair,
Unless I be relieved by prayer,
Which pierces so that it assaults
Mercy itself and frees all faults.
As you from crimes would pardon’d be,
Let your indulgence set me free .

Prospero’s Epilogue from William Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

Nothing is lovelier than listening to Mozart in early-spring sunshine…


Joni Mitchell looks out a window of her house in Laurel Canyon, Oct. 1970 (by Henry Diltz)