Richard Bonynge has long championed vocal repertoire from the 18th and 19th centuries, the kind of music his wife Dame Joan Sutherland sang with singular virtuosity. Its clear, flowing vocal lines are wonderful for a singer who can capture the spirit of the times reflected in the combined imagery of text and music. Cherry Ripe, a collection of these vocal classics and the sixth disc in the Bonynge Edition for the Melba label, features Deborah Riedel.
The Australian soprano must have known her battle with cancer was nearing its close when she recorded the songs by James Hook, Giovanni Paisiello, William Boyce, Charles Edward Horn whose Cherry Ripe gives its name to the CD, Thomas Arne, English composer of Italian descent Stephen Storace (his sister Nancy was Mozart`s first Susanna in Figaro, André Grétry and many others. With a florid technique, Riedel moves effortlessly through the shapely melodies accompanied by Sydney`s Arcadia Lane Orchestra, Bonynge conducting. The voice is a molten flow of rich, rounded and deeply etched sound … it is a beauteous piece of work to be enjoyed, supported by a booklet of informative commentary and song texts… Riedel`s stoicism is reminiscent of the magnificent Kathleen Ferrier who also sang almost to the death. Now another voice is silenced too soon and this recording, never to be repeated, is to be treasured.