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You may know the book The Last Prima Donnas by Lanfranco Rasponi (if not, it’s worth seeking out): a series of interviews in which highly opinionated pre-war divas cast a caustic eye over their colleagues and successors on the lyric stage, managing to disparage just about everybody under the guise of deep concern for their sacred art. I would like to think that wherever they sit in judgment now, they would manage a benign nod for the artistry of Krassmira Stoyanova, whose CDVerismo contains many gems from their repertoire. With much Puccini included, the title is slightly misleading, but Stoyanova has not just the voice but the manner for these roles. She relishes the vocal sweep, direct emotion and expressive possibilities of each aria – she lightens her tone for a tender Liù, enriches it for a grand Adriana Lecouvreur and unleashes it for Maddalena (Andrea Chénier) and Fidelia (Edgar). Of particular interest is the immensely affecting finale from Mascagni’s Lodoletta, in which Pavel Baleff’s sympathetic conducting helps Stoyanova to fade away exquisitely. Her use of portamento is masterly and she has verismo style at her fingertips. A gorgeous disc.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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