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The superstar mezzo’s new album is a collection of pieces that apparently transcend religion and are ‘about the soul itself ’, according to the Latvian diva. Pieces range from Allegri’s Miserere and Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana to a variety of settings of ave Maria, from Gomez to Caccini. I’m sure you get the gist. Aiming to leave personal bias at the door (I would have been tempted to call it Holy Crap), it is either an interesting sweep of musical genres or a mish-mash – take your pick. Garanca’s voice is rich and firm as ever, a gorgeous instrument. However, she puts herself in the firing line by interpreting pieces better known as soprano lollipops, and at times her voice fails to lift to a higher plane. The conducting (by her husband, Karel Mark Chichon) is adept, and the Latvian Radio Choir is excellent. The recorded acoustic is appalling; it sounds as though Garanca was locked in the loo whilst everyone else was having a good time. A curate’s egg – one for the fans, but who would blame them.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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