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Charles H. Parsons
American Record Guide, November 2012

Gruberova is a musical wonder. In this 1996 performance she is in top form, coloratura and personal embellishments intact, playfully going along with the director’s concept. Particularly outstanding is the rotund, warm voice of mezzo Kallisch in the “pants role” of Pierotto. She pours out generous sound to lovely effect. There is much beautiful vocalism from tenor Van der Walt. He knows how to spin out bel canto lyricism. “Imposing” is the word for the singing and characterizations of Polgar and Ariostin. The duet in Act 1 cascades with thrills and chills. Chorus and orchestra under the leadership of Fischer bubble and bel along in excellent taste and style. © 2012 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide online

Bill White
Fanfare, November 2012

Linda di Chamounix was Donizetti’s first commission for Vienna, and the composer took considerable care musically to make it a success.

Gruberova’s singing is generally quite good…She handles Donizetti’s difficult fioratura with aplomb…The tenor, Deon van der Walt…sings well enough here, but this opera was built around the soprano. Bass-baritone Lázló Polgár sings the buffa bass role of the Marchese in great voice…The village Prefect and the pants role of Linda’s young friend Pieretto, sung by baritone Armando Ariostini and mezzo Cornelia Kallisch, respectively, round out a solid octet of excellent voices. The well-honed Zurich Opera House Orchestra acquits itself well, probably much better than Donizetti would have expected in his own time. Stage director Daniel Schmid provides the audience with some curious mimed backstory behind the action, especially in the act II Paris apartment. Settings are a bit stylized but perfectly acceptable, costumes realistic and in period…

If you enjoy Gruberova, and even if you don’t, this production…gives a fine representation of the opera. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review

Robert J Farr
MusicWeb International, August 2012

In the role, Edita Gruberova has an appealing lightness and vocal flexibility allied to good legato, variety of tone and good expression. She has the ability to sound young and girlish without being tweety…Gruberova’s singing delights the audience…Elsewhere Gruberova’s coloratura is secure and appealing in the extended mad scene where Linda loses her reason after her father accuses her of immorality. Her singing is expressive to go along with committed acting as she deflects the advances of the Marquis (DVD 2 CHs.4-8) and particularly so in the love duet with Deon van der Walt’s Visconte (DVD 2 CHs.9-13).

Van der Walt’s singing throughout is tasteful and expressive with just the right amount of edge to give the required dramatic impetus or ardent inflection. Add his Mozartian sensibility and good diction and one deprecates even more his sad loss to the operatic stage following his particularly tragic early death. This performance is a fitting memorial to a fine and sensitive tenor. In fact all the men in the cast play and sing their roles well. The tall figure of László Polgár, as Il Prefetto, is allied to good and varied vocal tone and sympathetic characterisation as fits the story. Armando Ariostin creates a sympathetic, then agonised and finally forgiving figure as Linda’s father, singing with security, as does Nadine Ascher as her mother. In the incongruous buffa role of the Marquis of Boisfleury Jacob Will sings well and looks particularly foppish with his extravagant clothes and hairstyles. The duet between him and Linda in act two (DVD 2 CHs. 4-8) shows his singing and acting ability particularly well. The travesti role of the young itinerant hurdy-gurdy player Pierotto, who returns the hallucinating Linda to her home and parents, is particularly well acted and sung by Cornelia Kallisch.

The stage direction by Daniel Schmid is apt and all the better for being unobtrusive.

Under the baton of Adam Fischer, the orchestra of the Zürich Opera does justice to Donizetti’s creation. Uniquely in my experience of DVDs, each act is preceded by a synopsis; very helpful. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Christie Grimstad, July 2012

The fact that Linda di Chamounix (1842) is rarely performed places greater onus on this Arthaus Musik recording.

Edita Gruberova’s voice remains sophisticatedly supple even at this point in her career. Her effortless approach to the orchestral gymnastics of Donizetti’s coloratura score is filled with marvelous vocal techniques and predilections of delineated acciaccatura and grace notes. Gruberova’s precise conquest first appears during her Act I showcase aria, “O luce di quest’ anima” that is satisfyingly heartfelt then later transforming into a “woman-gone-mad” with heightened palpability. It is absolutely thrilling to hear Gruberova end Act II by sustaining a high B flat in the conclusive “Carlo! Carlo!” Jacob Will makes good use of his comedic actions and baronial singing as the Marquis.

Resonating with hopeful love, Deon van der Walt’s Carlo brandishes brilliance and optimistic projection…Nadine Asher’s Maddelena bears a nicely rounded soprano tone…In the triumphant march-like Antonio/Prefect duet in Act I we find a well balanced blend of Armando Ariostin and László Polgár…Polgár’s authoritative bass register is an attention-getter…Donizetti capitalized on Meyerbeer’s innovations by opening Acts I and III with an offstage chorus exemplified by the Zurich Opera House Chorus.

Singers become more deeply entrenched in their roles through the secondary reflections of costuming, lighting and scenery. Erich Wonder’s set design is worth contemplating…A scrim becomes one of the major components, projecting delightful changes of backdrops with great fluidity…The use of Schlosstein’s and Hoffmann’s silhouettes have elucidating touches such as searchlights attempting to find safe passage through a snow storm while en route to the small mountain village of Chamonix. This effect is somewhat intense. Adam Fischer moves the music along with an acceptable tempo.

Perhaps the best attribute within this Linda di Chamounix is experiencing the maturity of Edita Gruberova’s voice that emboldens the pure beauty of this Donizetti opera. Her abilities are absolutely amazing, and this Linda is no exception…Donizetti’s music is taut, expressive and exquisite. © 2012 Read complete review

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