As noted earlier, I opened this CD to find that it was signed, which was a most pleasant surprise. Given my luck this past week, I am tempted to purchase another copy of one or the other of my favorite recordings, just to see what would happen . . . though of course it doesn’t work that way.
But the real draw here is of course in what is on the recording itself. My neighbors (my apartment is a subdivided house) have moved away, leaving behind a grill and a potted plant that I intend to appropriate once I am sure they are well and truly gone, but more to the point, I can cause the walls of this building to vibrate with opera and no one is going to be bothered. And this is quite a good recording for wall-vibration purposes. I bought it because I enjoyed Mattila’s Elisabeth in the Théatre du Châtelet performance of Don Carlos that I listened to a while back, and I like this for many of the same reasons that I enjoyed that.
Some of the selections on this recording are familiar in the sense that I have heard the opera in question before (e.g. the sections of Wagner and Strauss) but the recital on the whole made me realize what a Handel-thru-Mozart-and-sometimes-Verdi rut I tend to run in most of the time. There is something to be said for listening to operas in languages that you understand not a word of, in my case, Russian or Czech. The scene from Janáček’s Jenufa was one of my favorite parts of this – and she’s recorded the whole thing, which may be next on my list. But I am obliged to admit, I enjoyed the Puccini (“in quelle trine morbide” from Manon Lescaut) too. This recording is one of those that puts me in a ‘who cares what the text says’ mood; you can figure out the general drift of the selection from how it sounds and how it’s sung, and as with Don Carlos I found myself simply enjoying the sound of Mattila’s voice.