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Since making her name in 2009 as Carmen at La Scala, aged just 25, Georgian mezzo Anita Rachvelishvili has been storming the world’s stages. Her debut CD offers some standard repertoire choices, but she blows the competition out of the water. People often bemoan that big voices are a thing of the past, but Rachvelishvili is here to prove them wrong, with her exciting and gleaming top notes and a baritonal chest register that rattles the speakers. She also displays great artistry and delicacy, never descending into exaggeration for the sake of cheap effect. Her Carmen, Dalila and Charlotte (Werther) are women of dignity, her Azucena (Trovatore) haunted and desperate.

In her arias from Don Carlo, Rachvelishvili trips nimbly through Eboli’s ‘Veil Song’ and then rips through ‘O don fatale’. She proudly sings in her native tongue, a graceful aria from Arakishvili’s The Legend of Shota Rustaveli, and her elegant reading of ‘O ma lyre immortelle’, from Gounod’s Sapho, is worthy to stand against the many great renditions of the past. Giacomo Sagripanti conducts with brisk tempi and crisp detail. This is a must-have CD for not just all lovers of great vocalism, but for anyone who relishes a singing actress in the first flush of her youthful triumph.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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