Anima Rara, the debut recital album from Ermonela Jaho, explores music championed by Rosina Storchio, one of the most charismatic lyric sopranos of the verismo era. Charismatic and a superb actress but her voice was not suited to the acoustic recording of the early twentieth century so there are few recordings of her voice.
Rediscovering Rosina Storchio's art is an opportunity to enter this forgotten musical landscape, where new Italian and French works coexist with creative re-imaginings of the past.
On this disc, Jaho sings arias from some very well-known operas including Puccini’s Madama Butterfly and Verdi’s La traviata, but the greater part of the recital is of rare gems from Leoncavallo’s La bohème, Giordano’s Siberia, Mascagni’s Lodoletta and other largely lost turn of the century works. She is accompanied by the Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana led by young Italian conductor Andrea Battistoni.
Known for performances of searing intensity and emotional truth, Jaho has been described as "the world’s most acclaimed soprano" (The Economist) and "one of the great verismo interpreters" (The Guardian).
All too often, one hears such phrases as "the voice of the decade" but in this instance I can't wait to see her in Madama Butterfly or, indeed, anything else.
Reviewer: Paul Foss