In a perfect world of Opera, roles that demand not only the youthful looks but the fresh sound of a young woman – Tatyana, Liu, Micaela, Cio Cio San, Adriana Lecouvreur, the Trovatore’s Leonora, Nedda, Rusalka, Halka, must ideally be assigned to singers that look and sound the part.
Here to satisfy that wish is Polish soprano Aleksandra Kurzak, who in her Sony Classical release of operatic arias titled Desire delivers a gorgeous lyric sound, pinpoint accuracy in all the coloratura passages, intensity, and the sort of respectfulness for the written note that includes observing repeats and executing what’s written rather than what comes to the singer’s whim.
Add to that flawless diction in Italian, French, and Ms. Kurzak’s native Polish and its linguistic relatives: Czech and Russian, and one must quickly conclude that this artist has come into her own with a complete artistic-vocal equipment.
After a random listening through the album’s selections that began for us with a magnificent Letter Scene from Eugene Onegin we kept on the lookout for any moments in which the Verismo demands of Vissi d’arte or Nedda’s scene from I Pagliacci or even some of the declamatory passages in the lower range a singer encounters in Verdi could prove much too demanding for what is essentially Ms. Kurzak’s mid-weight lyric voice.
No problem! She sails through untaxed by even the most demanding moments in Leonora’s Tacea la notte and the last act D’amor sull’ ali rosee. She even caps Elena’s aria from I vespri siciliani with a terrific high E. (https://youtu.be/ExAhRILG9oo)
It is quite remarkable that Aleksandra Kurzak’s artistic journey has taken her from the Mozartian soubrettes Fach to the leading lady roles that she now sings all over the world. In this quarantined reality in which we now live this album already sits in my Best of 2020 list along with our fervent hope that soon Aleksandra Kurzak will be seen and heard on operatic stages this side of the pond.
Rafael de Acha