Cherry Ripe

Catherine Koerner
Readings (Australia)

The recent passing of Sydney soprano Deborah Riedel earlier this year (from cancer, aged 50) was a tragic loss to the Australian opera scene. In this, her last recording, it’s a treat to hear her sing such forgotten miniatures, barely ever performed and recorded. The works on this album stem from the eighteenth and nineteenth century and are by such composers as J. C. Bach, Boyce and Thomas Arne via Cimarosa and Mayr to little-known songsmiths such as Crescentini, Pietro Generali and Stephen Storace. So elegant and pastoral are the gems on this CD that at times I was transported to the drawing rooms and recital halls of Jane Austen’s England. At other times, I was reminded of another great Australian opera talent Joan Sutherland—who Deborah uncannily sounds like. However, Deborah had a quality that was uniquely hers; this CD stands as a testament and memorial to her talents.