“Best of 2005″ – Soundstage.com
Opera News’ “Best of the Year”
Bridge is pleased to release this superb vocal recital by the great mezzo-soprano, Elaine Bonazzi. Recorded at the Peabody Conservatory in 1985, this studio recording was never released, and is being issued in a new re-mastering by engineer Adam Abeshouse.
The career of mezzo soprano Elaine Bonazzi has been an extraordinary one. Called “a fantastically gifted actress and singer” by The Washington Post, Bonazzi earned a singular reputation for her vivid and memorable portrayals on the opera stage. As an oratorio and orchestral soloist, she was one of the leading mezzos of her generation and was equally at home on the recital and concert stage. Bonazzi made her debut in Santa Fe in 1958 in the role of Meg Page in Falstaff. In Santa Fe, over the next 35 years, she sang everything from the title roles in Carmen, Regina, and The Grand Duchess of Gerolstein, to important roles in the American premieres of Berg’s Lulu, and Hindemith’s News of the Day (with Hindemith conducting). It was at Santa Fe that she began her long association with Igor Stravinsky, when she played Baba the Turk in The Rake’s Progress in a production supervised by the composer. She was subsequently chosen by Stravinsky for a number of premieres, including The Requiem Canticles, which she recorded, and Le Rossignol at The Washington Opera, which she also recorded. At New York City Opera, Bonazzi made her debut in Ned Rorem’s Miss Julie, and she was cast by Stephen Sondheim as Mrs. Lovett in his Sweeney Todd, and Madame Armfeldt in A Little Night Music. Other American companies with which Bonazzi appeared included the Metropolitan Opera at the Forum, and the companies of Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Houston, Minnesota, Cincinnati, Wolf Trap, Seattle, Dallas, Houston. In 1985, the year this recording was made, Byron Belt, writing for Newhouse Newspapers, summed up what composers, audiences, and critics alike had felt about this unique singer: “Elaine Bonazzi is the rarest of artists—a superb performer who is admired deeply…as a singer and woman who is sensitive, gifted and able to communicate music and the meaning of words as few stars of the stage can achieve so consistently.”