Cherry Ripe

Sarah Noble
Prima La Musica (Australia)

This disc of rarities is the last recording made by the much loved Deborah Riedel, who sadly passed away at the beginning of this year. And while you can't listen to this recital without a touch of sadness, there's so much life and joy in Riedel's singing that in the end it's a very happy celebration. The repertoire is unusual ... a disc such as this is a perfect platform for these unusual Italian and English arias—you mightn't ever need to hear the whole of, say, Storace's Lodoiska or Zingarelli's Giulette e Romeo (and even if you do, you might never have the chance) but a single aria sung with style is a nice treat. Riedel's singing is warm and engaging. The disc might be part of Melba's ‘Richard Bonynge Edition’ and the repertoire more his bag than hers, but it is Riedel's convincing delivery which ultimately sells it. Her best arias are those which sit in the honeyed middle of her voice and those with a dash of seriousness (and fewer coloratura frills) to them ....[Her legato] is fabulous, and the slight heaviness of her voice lends a touch of real dignity to arias which might otherwise sound plain and formulaic ... it's got a definite charm to it, and it does this greatly missed artist credit. The Arcadia Lane Orchestra (no doubt assembled purely for this recording) under Richard Bonynge gives the whole venture an authentic period feeling with plenty of personality.