“Radvanovsky’s singing was riveting. Hers is a bright beacon of a voice, focused and agile… Even in the many rousing choruses and ensemble numbers, her voice sailed into the house like a glowing laser beam.”
– New York Times
Great Interpreters: Sondra Radvanovsky
Broadcast on Fine Music Radio on 22 February 2013.
As far as Verdi sopranos go, no-one on the opera stage today can beat Sondra Radvanovsky for sheer vocal beauty and power. Her voice – a gleaming, penetrating sound that is hard-edged without being harsh – is rich and sumptuous, large, yet capable of spinning out beautiful pianissimo phrases, thrilling and edgy, yet with an expressive timbre. Comparisons with the untouchable divas of yesteryear – Leontyne Price, Renata Tebaldi and Maria Callas – are inevitable, and like these great legendary singers before her, Radvanovsky’s voice is unusual, yet utterly distinctive and recognisable. You simply know it’s her when you hear her. Coupled with her striking stage presence, she has firmly established her reputation as one of the leading stars on the international opera stage, as one of the foremost Verdi sopranos of our time and as an emerging bel canto singer destined to leave her mark on this particular repertoire.
Radvanovsky first came to my attention when I heard her in an extract from a 2008 Los Angeles Opera production of Puccini’s Suor Angelica – a moving portrayal that left an indelible impression and which made me realise that there was something incredibly special about this voice and artist. Then, in November of last year, I was fortunate enough to hear Radvanovsky sing the role of Amelia in Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera at the Metropolitan Opera in New York – an unforgettable experience.
In many ways, Radvanovsky typifies what it means to be a modern-day diva. She once stated that she’d like to become “the people’s diva” and strongly believes that “opera shouldn’t be a foreign art form… it should be as accessible as rock music.” Despite her tremendous vocal assets and a reputation as one of the world’s top sopranos, she brings a refreshing down-to-earth personality, a can-do attitude and an irreproachable work ethic to everything that she does. I for one am certainly looking forward to hearing many more performances from this wonderful artist and maybe, just maybe, I’ll get the chance to interview her in the near future for a follow up program to this podcast.
For more information on the artist, please visit her website at www.sondraradvanovsky.com.
Podcast Track List
6) “Morro, ma prima in grazia” from Act III of Un ballo in maschera (Verdi)
Sondra Radvanovsky (soprano)
Dimitri Hvorostovsky (baritone)
Constantine Orbelian (conductor)
Philharmonia of Russia
8) “Senza Mamma” from Suor Angelica (Puccini)
Sondra Radvanovsky (soprano)
James Conlon (conductor)
Los Angeles Opera Orchestra
Recorded “live” in the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Los Angeles, in 2008.