“I am emerging from the Wagner and Verdi year of 2013 very sick of Verdi. It’s not his fault. It’s that 95 percent of the celebrations revolved around Verdi. Not only does Wagner involve challenges and controversy, but Verdi wrote a million operas while Wagner wrote, what, 12? That’s why I laughed when WNED-FM began its yearlong toast to the two composers, working its way through both composers’ output with an opera every week. Guess who got the lion’s share of that? All this actually adds up to a compliment to this album because it has a load of Verdi, and I couldn’t believe that I liked it. Ekaterina Siurina, a soprano with a most pleasant and smooth voice, is actually singing not arias but art songs, not only by Verdi but by Donizetti and Bellini. Iain Burnside accompanies her on piano. (He is really an accompanist, playing quietly and discreetly.) The simple setting plays up the bel canto grace of the writing. You begin to hear how these composers were influenced by Mozart, and what Chopin saw in their melodies. It’s also fascinating to contrast the songs with the composers’ arias, which are much better known. Altogether, a surprising and diverting adventure. This recital is courtesy of Rosenblatt Recitals, described as “the only major operatic recital series in the world.”
Mary Kunz Goldman, Buffalo News, 02 Jan 2014
“Ekaterina Siurina has the type of soprano voice that’s perfect for sweet soubrette roles: compact, pure and agile, yet with presence and color in its lower range. On a recording of songs by bel canto composers Verdi, Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti, she plays both within and beyond expectations and also shows a particular flair for folk-inflected works.
Verdi’s Violetta comes to mind in his “Stornello” as she sings of being free from love and commitment. In his aria-like “Perduta ho la pace,” she comes across as a tragedienne, a role often reserved for fuller voices.
Siurina also offers a vivid interpretation of Donizetti’s sailor song “Amor Marinaro,” capturing the seaside lilt as well as the speaker’s fervor. Her ease and sense of character in Rossini’s “La pastorella dell’Alpi,” which has yodel-like leaps, charms. So does her embodiment of a blissful chimney sweep in Verdi’s “Lo Spazzocamino” and a gypsy in Donizetti’s “La Zingara.
Throughout, pianist Iain Burnside provides lively accompaniment, mirroring the texts’ varied shades of tremulousness, calm, passion and joy.”
Ronni Reich, New Jersey.com, 10 January 2014