The ‘fresh, beautiful and critically underpraised’ voice (Gramophone) of Pilar Lorengar is celebrated here on an album of operatic arias, originally issued in 1980 by Decca as a portrait of the Spanish soprano who had entranced audiences on both sides of the Atlantic for three decades. ‘Our Pilar’as she was known affectionately at the Deutsche Oper, Berlin where she had been a member of the company and then a jewel in its crown since her debut at the house in 1958.
There she settled for life and sang her signature roles, several of them immortalized on this recital which exhibits her facility in four languages and the special light and warmth of a voice ‘not soon forgotten, especially in an era so heavily populated by cookie-cutter singers’ (Peter G. Davis, New York magazine, 1987). There is Elsa’s principal aria from Lohengrin, sung in Lorengar’s ‘exotically accented but potently expressive’ German (Opera magazine) and one of the Mozart roles (Zerlina in ‘Don Giovanni’) that originally made her name. She had a natural gift for portraying Puccini heroines (Tosca, Manon Lescaut, Angelica) and a native’s delight and fresh, eager delivery of Falla (‘La vida breve’) and Granados (‘Goyescas’).
This invaluable reissue of a much-missed soprano is ‘Canto a Sevilla’: a substantial and heartfelt tribute to the city from its leading poet, Muñoz San Román and pre-eminent composer, Joaquín Turina. Like the operatic recital, this cycle of four songs is accompanied by the sympathetic baton of her fellow Spaniard Jesus Lopez-Cobos.
The release complements a 2CD set of ‘Spanish Romances’ with Lorengar also available on Eloquence (482 5944).
WOLFGANG AMADEU MOZART: Don Giovanni: Don Ottavio … Son morta! … Or sai chi l’onore
Tosca: Vissi d’arte
Manon Lescaut: Sola, perduta, abbandonata
Suor Angelica: Senza mamma
Madama Butterfly: Tu, tu, piccolo iddio
GIUSEPPE VERDI: Don Carlo: Tu che le vanità
MANUEL DE FALLA:
La vida breve: Vivan los que rien!
La vida breve: Allí está! Riyendo, junto á esa mujé
RICHARD WAGNER: Lohengrin: Einsam in trüben Tagen
ENRIQUE GRANADOS: Goyescas: La maya y el ruiseñor
JOAQUIN TURINA: Canto a Sevilla, Op. 37**
Pilar Lorengar, soprano
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Orchestre de la Suisse Romande**
Recording Producers: Andrew Cornall (arias); Michael Haas (Canto a Sevilla)
Balance Engineers: Kenneth Wilkinson, John Pellowe (arias); Colin Moorfoot (Canto a Sevilla)
Recording Locations: Kingsway Hall, London, UK, 2 & 4–6 December 1978 (arias); Victoria Hall, Geneva, Switzerland, 5–6 March 1983 (Canto a Sevilla)
Remastering Engineer: Craig Thompson (Audio Archiving Company)
‘Pilar Lorengar makes a lovely sound and sings with intensity.’ Gramophone, August 1984 (Turina)
‘Voice and temperament seemed entirely apt and one reflected on what a lovely Elsa she might be on stage’ Gramophone, August 1980 (‘Einsam in trüben Tagen’)