I had a great chat with Katherine Cooper of Presto Classical where we talk about my French Bel Canto album and Alcina here at the Royal Opera house!
How did you hit on the concept for this programme? Did the experience of singing a particular role send you in this direction?
It was actually something that we dreamed up in a restaurant in Paris! My husband and I were talking about what I might do for my next album, and I remember saying that if it was going to be a recital of opera arias I’d naturally gravitate towards bel canto…but pretty much every woman of my voice-type has done an Italian bel canto disc, so we thought it would be interesting to focus on French-language operas by Italian composers.
We did our research and found a lot of Rossini and Donizetti, but sadly nothing by Bellini: I was really hoping there might be a French version of La Straniera or Puritani, but all we unearthed was song repertoire. Of course there’s tonnes of French Verdi, but most of it isn’t my for voice-type: I could maybe get away with the aria from Les vêpres siciliennes, and that’s about it! But there’s plenty of Rossini and Donizetti that’s a perfect fit, so I was happy to stick with that.