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Angela Gheorghiu’s Romanian Christmas Carols, new releases download on iTunes

Now, for this Christmas, Angela Gheorghiu has recorded 16 Romanian carols in new arrangements made especially for her, in which she vividly brings to life the authentic character and flavour of an ancient tradition she intimately knows, profoundly understands and has deeply loved all her life. Nearly 100 years ago, in 1916, Enrico Caruso recorded Adam’s Christmas carol ‘Minuit chrétiens’, and between then and now carols have been set down on disc by many other top operatic celebrities, not least among them Joan Sutherland, Mirella Freni, Plácido Domingo, Luciano Pavarotti, Juan Diego Florez and Dame Kiri te Kanawa, to mention just a few. The title of the disc is the name of one of the carols: ‘O, ce veste minunatã’, which can be translated as ‘Great tidings upon us’. This is the most well-known carol in the selection – others will surely be unfamiliar to many people outside Romania, and they include some songs that have been handed down orally through generations over many centuries. Hearing them sung by Angela Gheorghiu is a striking experience. One of this artist’s abundant great qualities is the bountiful harvest of varying colours and characterisation her voice expresses in differing poetic, dramatic and psychological situations, and here she infuses these vibrant and often poignant traditional carols with an individualistic folk-like timbre and pointed rhythmic animation that arises from her inner identification and lifelong familiarity with this music of her heritage. The carols are presented in the order of a journey, from 1 to 16, progressing from those about the future birth to songs about the birth itself and the happiness it brings. Accompanying Angela Gheorghiu’s consummate singing are the splendid Romanian National Radio Orchestra conducted by Tiberiu Soare and two choruses: the eminent Romanian Madrigal Choir, which has just celebrated its 50th birthday, and, for the two carols that are without orchestra, the recently constituted Accoustic Choir. The disc is released on the MediaPro Music label (Cat. No. 0309) and is also available as a download on iTunes. It is enchantingly magical.

Homage to Maria Callas

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