Hyunah Yu, soprano, in Bach and Mozart Arias – Prague Philharmonia/ Shuntaro Sato –EMI Classics

by | Apr 13, 2007 | Classical CD Reviews | 0 comments

Hyunah Yu, soprano, in Bach and Mozart Arias – Prague Philharmonia/ Shuntaro Sato –EMI Classics 0946 3 68255 2 6, 68:22 *****:

EMI has, for the most part, been wildly successful with its introductory “Debut” series that gives a wide variety of young artists the chance to show their stuff before an international audience. This latest, soon to hit the stands, features the exquisite singing of Hyunah Yu, a light soprano who sports the most deliciously creamy voice I have heard since Kathleen Battle first appeared on the scene in the early 80s. Of course, cream alone won’t make for an international career, but hers would seem to be quite seasoned at this point, as she started in 1999, and has been slowly making the rounds with some of the finest orchestras and conductors in the world.

Along with her graduate degree in molecular biology, she has found the time to study at the Peabody Institute and appears well on her way to success. If the folks at EMI don’t follow this up with a sequel, there is something seriously wrong there. The Bach selections include one aria from the Cantata BWV 32, and the complete 151, “Susser Trost, mein Jesus kommt”, excerpts from the “Wedding Cantata” (why couldn’t we have had it all?), and two selections from the St. Matthew Passion. Her instrument is radiant in these works; sensuous without being overly pious, reverent while injecting a real feeling of devotion. The lightness of her voice is tempered by the sheer physical beauty of the sound, a beauty that adds to the weight without overbearing it. One could listen with great satisfaction to her simply vocalizing.

The Mozart arias are some of the little known but absolutely masterly numbers from Zaide, that incomplete swell of youthful exertion, and one each from Giovanni and Magic Flute. If these serve as samplers, we are in for some wonderful performances in the future if the record companies see fit to get these sensational sounds down on disc. The recorded sound is as delectable as her voice, and Sato and company perform admirable accompaniment. Highest recommendation!

— Steven Ritter

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