Silver Voice: Opera Arias Played by Flute and Orchestra

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Katherine Bryan; Orchestra of Opera North / Bramwell Tovey
Chandos 5211 (65:07)

Katherine Bryan was educated at Chetham's School of Music in Manchester and became principal flute of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in 2003, a position to which she was appointed at the age of 21.

Her previous album ‘Silver Bow’ (Linn CKD520) was critically acclaimed. Here she plays 11 arias and opera fantasy pieces with her instrument replacing the voice, which will appeal to many people who, like your reviewer, prefer their opera without words.

My favourite track is the first and, at 12:33, the longest: Fantasy on ‘Die Zauberflöté’ beginning with a great melody even by Mozart’s standards. Other well-recognised tracks include Puccini’s O Mio Babbino Caro, and Un Bel Di Verdremo (One Fine Day from ‘Madame Butterfly’ by Puccini), Dvoƙák’s Song to the Moon, Gershwin’s Summertime, and Bizet’s Carmen Fantasy. For Delibes’ Flower Duet, Katherine is joined by Kevin Gowland, the principal flute with the accomplished accompanying orchestra.

Ilford-born Bramwell Tovey has been described by Musical America magazine as “one of the most versatile and charismatic musicians in the world.” He is a Grammy and Juno award-winning conductor and composer who in 2018, its centenary year, becomes MD Emeritus of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. And he has just been announced as the next Principal Conductor of the BBC Concert Orchestra.

This is an album of lovely tunes beautifully interpreted by a sparkling soloist. Additionally, both the recorded sound and booklet notes are excellent.

© 2017 Peter Burt.

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