Where is my Beloved Siurina Delos DE3602

Ekaterina Siurina (soprano)
Where Is My Beloved?
Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra/Constantine Orbelian
rec. 2022, Kaunas Philharmonic, Lithuania
Sung texts with English translations enclosed
Delos DE3602 [53]

In 2020, I reviewed soprano Ekaterina Siurina’s debut album for Delos Amour éternel (Eternal love), a collection of opera arias by French and Italian composers. Now we have her follow-up album on Delos, Where is my Beloved?, another attractive collection by six composers of ten opera warhorses, seven sung in Italian, two in her native Russian and one in Czech. 

Born at Yekaterinburg (formerly Sverdlovsk) in the Ural Mountains, Siurina, who studied at the Russian Academy of Theatrical Arts, Moscow, actually made her professional debut prior to her graduation, and without having ever sung with an orchestra, in 1999 at the Novaya Opera, Moscow, on opening night in the role of Gilda (Rigoletto) with renowned baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky in the title role. She has since had numerous prime engagements at the world’s most prestigious opera houses and festivals. 

Gilda has become a signature role; her other roles include Elvira (I Puritani), Donna Anna and Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), Giulietta (I Capuleti e i Montecchi), Violetta (La traviata), Leila (Les pêcheurs de perles), Adina (L’elisir d’amore) and Mimì (La bohème). Typical of this kind of album, Siurina’s choice of arias are largely drawn from roles not part of her usual repertory. She has, however, sung the title role in Dvořák’s Rusalka which includes the enduringly famous Song to the Moon; in fact, the album title Where is my Beloved? is a line taken from that opera.

I have already played this album several times, entirely appreciating Siurina’s glimmering performances. On the whole, she is able to enter into the dilemmas of the respective heroines and there is a little undue strain on her voice except under pressure when her vibrato becomes noticeable but is not intrusive. A Russian speaker, Siurina also sings her Italian and Czech texts acceptably.

Her highly affecting performance of the aforementioned Song to the Moon displays a striking sensitivity as the water nymph pleads to the moon to tell the prince of her love. As Sister Angelica, distraught at having being informed that that her illegitimate son died two years previously, Siurina gives an alluring and sincere rendition of the popular and beautiful aria “Senza Mamma” from Suor Angelica. Sister Angelica intends to take poison to be reunited with her son in heaven. Siurina displays a sweet tone and the ability to float extended notes. Relishing the Russian text of Eugene Onegin, she excels in Tatiana’s famous Letter Scene. The young Tatiana has fallen in love with Onegin and, overwhelmed by her feelings, begins to compose a love letter which undergoes numerous changes. Convincingly inside the role, Siurina gives a captivating delivery, pouring out a range of emotions in this engaging scene. 

Conductor and pianist Constantine Orbelian was born in San Francisco, USA to Armenian and Ukrainian émigré parents and has had particular success as principal conductor of the Kaunas City Symphony Orchestra of Lithuania. This productive partnership has thrived both in concert and in the recording studio, having earned several Grammy nominations. Here, Orbelian and his players flourish in this collection of mainly late-nineteenth century opera arias. Incidentally, Orbelian has become music director and principal conductor of the New York City Opera, a company currently undergoing a rejuvenation.

This Delos album doesn’t contain a conventional essay, nonetheless, there are valuable notes and all the song texts have English translations. Most helpful is the explanation provided for each aria, described within its operatic context. The sound quality presents no problems, having clarity and a satisfying balance between soprano and orchestra. 

In this type of collection containing well-known arias, my preference is for the inclusion of two or three lesser-known arias. Nevertheless, I certainly appreciate hearing Where is my Beloved?; it is both charming and praiseworthy.  

Michael Cookson

Previous reviews: Göran Forsling (October 2023) and Ralph Moore (November 2023)

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1. Antonin Dvořák: Rusalka
“Mesicku na nebi hlubokén” (6:34)
2. Giacomo Puccini: Manon Lescaut
“In quelle trine morbide” (2:41)
3. Giacomo Puccini: Suor Angelica
“Senza Mamma” (4:41)
4. Giacomo Puccini: Madama Butterfly
“Un bel dì, vedremo” (4:44)
5. Giacomo Puccini: Madama Butterfly
“Tu? Tu? Piccolo iddio!” (2:36)
6. Francesco Cilea: Adriana Lecouvreur
“Io son l’umile ancella” (3:49)
7. Arrigo Boito: Mefistofele
“L’altra notte in fondo al mare” (5:00)
8. Giuseppe Verdi: Simon Boccanegra
“Come in quest’ora” (5:55)
9. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Iolanta
“Iolanta’s Arioso” (2:53)
10. Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin
“Tatiana’s Letter Scene” (13:57)