Poulenc’s “Gloria” with soprano Michelle Areyzaga as soloist. She’s a favorite around the Chicago music scene and in addition to the Poulenc, she treated us to seven of Canteloube’s “Songs of the Auvergne.”
Canteloube did not write the melodies, but he collected 33 of these folk songs from his native area of France and gave them dazzling orchestrations. Most of the songs Areyzaga chose were unfamiliar to me, but they were by turns touching, humorous and high-spirited.
In this glowing performance, the young soprano showed us that in addition to her shimmering voice she is also quite an actress, imbuing the songs with her vivacious personality. She sang in the dialect of the Auvergne region, not French, which also gave them a unique aura.
The “Gloria” was a contrast to the songs, but it was not particularly solemn. The “Domine Deus, Rex Caelestis” was glorious, and the “Agnus Dei” was, well, heavenly. Areyzaga’s voice soared gracefully above and around and through the accompaniment, light but never faint, direct, but buoyant in its fluidity.
—Dorothy Andries – Evanston Review, Sun-Times News Group, Sunny Days for Aurora Soprano, March 20, 2008 (Soloist in Canteloube’s “Songs of the Auvergne” and Poulenc’s “Gloria”)