The debut solo recital disc of Argentinean soprano Veronica Cangemi is an outstanding success for the performers and the label. Titled “From 17th Century Italy to 20th Century Argentina,” the disc traces a wandering path among the music that has inspired the young singer and accompanied her rise to stardom. There are gentle soliloquies by Monteverdi and Caccini, and a sampling of some of Handel’s most beautiful moments (including the deeply sad concluding aria of “Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno,” and the astonishing Spanish-tinged flavors of the composer’s “Cantata spagnola”).
Seductive bits and pieces by by Porpora, Vivaldi and Riccardo Broschi mingle with 20th century enchantments by Astor Piazzolla, Carlos Guastavino and Heitor Villa-Lobos (the famous Aria from the fifth of his Bachianas brasilieras, accompanied by an initially disconcerting but ultimately breathtaking combination of guitar and cello).
Although Cangemi’s voice is, from the very first notes she sings, one of distinctive timbre and impressive range, what makes this CD one to cherish it is the way in which she seems to make time and space stand still while she savors an emotion or is overcome by it, and then catches herself and springs or flows back into the musical line. It is a special type of spontaneous phrasing which can come only from the heart. The instruments of the Una Stella Ensemble, which surround and embrace Cangemi, are played with great precision and refinement, and the excellent recording ensures that balances are absolutely perfect; as a result, not one scrumptious detail is lost.
– Laurence Vittes