Subscribe to
Opera Today

Receive articles and news via RSS feeds or email subscription.


twitter_logo[1].gif



9780521746472.png

0810888688.gif

0810882728.gif

Recently in Reviews

La Bohème, Manitoba

Manitoba Opera’s first production in nine years of Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème still stirs the heart and inspires tears with its tragic tale of bohemian artists living — and loving — in 1840s Paris.

Arizona Opera Presents Don Pasquale in Tucson

On April 12, 2014, Arizona Opera opened its series of performances of Donizetti's Don Pasquale in Tucson. Chuck Hudson’s production of this opera combined Commedia dell’arte with Hollywood movie history.

Will Don Quichotte Be the Last Production at San Diego Opera?

This quotation from Cervantes was displayed before the opening of the opera’s final scene:

“The greatest madness a man can commit in this life is to let himself die, just like that, without anybody killing him or any other hands ending his life except those of melancholy.”

Gound Faust - Calleja and Terfel, Royal Opera House London

Gounod's Faust makes a much welcomed return to the Royal Opera House. With each new cast, the dynamic changes as the balance between singers shifts and brings out new insights. In that sense, every revival is an opportunity to revisit from new perspectives. This time Bryn Terfel sang Méphistophélès, with Joseph Calleja as Faust - stars whose allure certainly helped fill the hall to capacity. And the audience enjoyed a very good show.

Syracuse Opera’s Porgy and Bess
Got Plenty O’ Plenty

The company ends its 2013-14 season on a high note with a staged performance of Gershwin’s theatrical masterpiece

A New Rusalka in Chicago

Lyric Opera of Chicago’s new production of Antonin Dvorak’s Rusalka is visually impressive and fulfills all possible expectations musically with unquestioned excitement.

Karlsruhe’s Mixed Blessing Ballo

The reliable Badisches Staatstheater has assembled plenty of talent for its new Un Ballo in Maschera.

Louise Alder, Wigmore Hall

This varied, demanding programme indisputably marked soprano Louise Alder as a name to watch.

Luke Bedford: Through His Teeth, Linbury, Royal Opera House

Can this be the best British opera in years? Luke Bedford’s Through His Teeth at the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Theatre is exceptional. Drop everything and go.

Powder Her Face, ENO

As one descends the steel steps into the cavernous bunker of Ambika P3, one seems about to enter rather insalubrious realms — just right one might imagine, then, for an opera which delves into the depths of the seedier side of celebrity life.

Iphigénie Fascinates in the Pfalz

Kaiserslautern’s Pfalztheater has produced a tantalizing realization of Gluck’s Iphigénie en Aulide, characterized by intriguing staging, appealing designs, and best of all, superlative musical standards.

ROH presents Cavalli’s L’Ormindo at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, London

Never thought I’d say it but......

Harrison Birtwistle, Elliott Carter, Wigmore Hall, London

Celebrating the 80th birthday of one of the UK's greatest composers (if not the greatest), this concert was an intriguing, and not always stimulating, mix. Birtwistle with Carter makes sense, but Birtwistle with Adams does not - or at least only within the remit of the concert series. The concert was actually entitled “Nash Inventions: American and British Masterworks, including an 80th Birthday Tribute to Sir Harrison Birtwistle” and was the final concert in the “Inventions” series.

Requiem for a Lost Opera Company

On Wednesday, March 19, 2014, General Director Ian Campbell of San Diego Opera announced that the company would go out of business at the end of this season. The next day the company performed their long-planned Verdi Requiem with a stellar cast including soprano Krassimira Stoyanova, mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe, tenor Piotr Beczala, and bass Ferruccio Furlanetto.

The Met’s Werther a tasty mix of singing, staging, acting and orchestral splendor

Visual elements in Richard Eyre’s striking production offset Massenet’s melodic shortcomings

Chicago’s New Barber of Seville

New productions of repertoire staples such as Gioachino Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia bear much anticipation for both performers and staging.

Lucia in LA: A Performance to Remember

On March 15, 2014, Los Angeles Opera presented Elkhanah Pulitzer’s production of the opera, which she set in 1885 when women were beginning to be recognized as persons separate from their fathers, brothers and husbands. At that time many European countries were beginning to allow women to own property, obtain higher education, and choose their husbands.

San Diego Opera Presents an All Star Ballo in Maschera

On March 11, 2014, San Diego Opera presented Verdi’s A Masked Ball in a traditional production by Leslie Koenig. Metropolitan Opera star tenor Piotr Beczala was Gustav III, the king of Sweden, and Krassimira Stoyanova gave an insightful portrayal of Amelia, his troubled but innocent love interest.

Anne Schwanewilms, Wigmore Hall

From the moment she walked, resplendent in red, onto the Wigmore Hall platform, Anne Schwanewilms radiated a captivating presence — one that kept the audience enthralled throughout this magnificent programme of Romantic song.

Die Frau ohne Schatten, Royal Opera

Magnificent! Following the first night of this new production of Die Frau ohne Schatten, I quipped that I could forgive an opera house anything for musical performance at this level, whether orchestral, vocal, or, in this case, both.

OPERA TODAY ARCHIVES »

Reviews

Karita Mattila — Fever
22 Dec 2008

Karita Mattila — Fever

Ondine provides a treasure of a booklet for Fever, Karita Mattila's traversal of some standards from the so-called "Great American Songbook," plus two Brazilian numbers.

Karita Mattila — Fever

Fever band & String section; How Many Sisters Vocal Trio; Kirmo Lintinen, conductor; Karita Mattila, soprano.

$18.49  Click to buy

Glamour shots present her most seductive looks, while pictures snapped at the concert where the live recording took place venture into camp territory, especially the enormous white fur floor-length jacket that apparently provided any warmth the stage lights couldn’t project. A short essay serves as a lovely example of over-the-top PR prose, establishing how Ms. Mattila’s “idea of singing a jazz programme” became a “vision {that} was finally realized.” All this while she “has been living in the USA a lot recently.” Your reviewer has been living a lot recently in the USA too. Small world.

Another note explains the history of Tin Pan Alley for us, then provides brief commentary on each song’s composer (“Cole Porter was a wealthy man of the world…”). All that’s missing is an extended list of personal “thank you’s” from the artist to make Fever fit right in with the typical pop release self-celebration. Almost in compensation, this note is found at the end: “The author of this text, Markku Piri, has initiated and developed the artistic concept of this Fever project in close collaboration with Karita Mattila. Piri also acted as set and costume designer for the shows.” You go, Piri.

The history of classical singers and popular song is long but not particularly fabled. This is not Karita’s first delving into this territory. On another Ondine release, Karita Live!, she did both great arias, such as “Vissi d”arte,” and also very enjoyable run-throughs of lighter material, such as “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.” On Fever, Ms. Mattila does try out a few jazz licks, with some carefully rehearsed scatting in a couple places. She seems more comfortable singing just behind the beat, and she allows herself to play with the melody lines from time to time, generally in a tasteful fashion. Peggy Lee seems to have been her model, as indicated by songs associated with Ms. Lee such as the title track and “Black Coffee.”

Ms. Lee’s reputation can only be burnished by comparison to Ms. Mattila’s singing here, but Karita does fine overall. On holding her voice back, some of the top range loses color and is not always in tune; the body of her range sounds very good indeed. Her English comes very close to being idiomatic, with some flat “r” sounds being the occasional giveaway. Your reviewer can’t evaluate her Portuguese, but both “O Pato” and “Corcovado” get enthusiastic performances. The arrangements tend to be very light jazz indeed. “Stormy Weather” in particular gets a most bizarre orchestral prelude before slipping into a more expected blues shuffle.

A vocal trio with the odd name How Many Sisters backs up Ms. Mattila. No Vandellas they.

Ms. Mattila’s greatness as a singer has long been established in the opera world. If this recording brought pleasure to her and the enthusiastic crowds at the live concerts, then “this Fever project” is worthwhile. But don’t let PETA catch her in that fur…

Chris Mullins

Send to a friend

Send a link to this article to a friend with an optional message.

Friend's Email Address: (required)

Your Email Address: (required)

Message (optional):