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Steven Ritter
Audiophile Audition, May 2013

…[Sasha Cooke] was the perfect voice for the role, recreating the best aria in the opera for this recording… she is extremely focused in her presentation, with a vibrato that is fast, almost old school, completely under control and variable according to need. Tonal qualities are superb, with rich coloring and resonant partials. There is little sense of effort in her transitional effects in long jumps, and her sense of legato and line, to say nothing of a wonderful penchant for effective and long breath control, is excellent.

…the overall quality of the sound rivals just about any stereo-only SACD I have ever heard, simply stunning in its clarity and overall expanse of sound. I need to mention the excellent contributions of the Colburn Orchestra and Maestro Gilad, the former top notch in its technical and tonal qualities, with sensitive and pointed direction by the latter. This is an essential disc. © Audiophile Audition Read complete review



Robert A. Moore
American Record Guide, March 2013

Chausson’s Poeme de l’Amour et de la Mer…shows Cooke at her best, with beautifully expressive singing and skillful vocal modulation.

The chief reason to get this is to hear a fine singer with a rich voice who shows herself at home in English, French, Italian, and German. © 2013 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Eric Myers
Opera News, February 2013

Cooke leads with [Doctor Atomic] on her excellent debut solo CD, If You Love for Beauty, in which she is sensitively accompanied by Yehuda Gilad and the Colburn Orchestra.

Cooke’s attractive, erotic stage presence struck plenty of sparks in Doctor Atomic, but without question she also delivers the vocal goods. She possesses a firm fruity mezzo, straight-toned in quality, which allows the listener to luxuriate in her unerring sense of pitch. And she has a strong yet subtle interpretive ability, one that draws the listener in.

Cooke’s performance is an exercise in simplicity. In “Ich atmet’ einen linden Duft,” she floats a beautiful mezza voce as soft as the linden fragrance she is describing. “Liebst du un Schonheit” is sung with hushed intimacy, and “Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen” comes wrapped in a quiet, confessional tone of resignation and introspection. “Blicke mir nicht in die Lieder” captures the correct rapid-fire, gently comic air of frustration. In the stark “Um Mitternacht,” Cooke rises movingly from the depressive episode depicted in the opening to the great epiphany of the final lines.

Cooke lightens her voice considerably for the two Handel selections, “Scherza infida,” from Ariodante, and “Ombra mai fu,” from Serse. In the latter, she gives the opening note of the verse a glorious sustained crescendo.

Chausson’s heartfelt Poeme de l’Amour et de la Mer is a magnificently over-the-top work, one that one be hugely effective when performed by a singer of Cooke’s intelligence and restraint…she does not disappoint the listener, and her voice rides beautifully atop Chausson’s churning Symbolist score. © 2013 Opera News






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8:27:57 AM, 18 April 2014
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