Album: Rossini, Colbran, the Muse (Virgin Classics)

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The Independent Culture

Joyce Di Donato's Colbran, the Muse follows much the same recital-as-biography format as Cecilia Bartoli's Maria Malibran disc,though the arias are exclusively by Rossini and the orchestra is exclusively modern instruments.There are some gems here– a touching reading of Desdemona's prayer, "Dehcalma, o ciel, nel sonno" from Otello, and a cameo appearance from tenor Lawrence Brownlee –but Di Donato's sweet, sincere voice is pushed too hard in the furious finale of Armida and Edoardo Müller's conducting is bland.

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