Suzanne Danco – The Decca Recitals (8CD)
The complete Decca recital recordings compiled and newly remastered in tribute to a superlative Mozart soprano of the last century – released to commemorate the 20th anniversary of her passing (10 August 2000).
The Belgian-born Suzanne Danco (1911–2000) made her operatic debut in Genoa as Fiordiligi in 1941, and it seems appropriate that in July 1947 in Milan she began her Decca relationship with a selection of Mozart arias. Equally fittingly, her first operatic recording was Pelléas et Mélisande with Ernest Ansermet and L’Orchestre de la Suisse Romande in April 1952. Ansermet always regarded Danco as his ideal Mélisande and, like Erich Kleiber, became a valued admirer of her artistry. Danco’s legacy on record is small but representative of her particular gifts in Mozart and French song, in which she was an almost unrivalled interpreter, leaving unforgettably refined readings of Debussy’s Fêtes galantes, Fauré’s La bonne chanson and Ravel’s Shéhérezade, among others. The Debussy and Fauré count among the highlights of a series of Decca albums made with her long-time recital partner, Guido Agosti, and compiled here complete for the first time.
There is much else in the box that is new to CD or long unavailable: a lovely 10-inch collection of lullabies, songs of Bellini and arie antiche; her refined touch applied to the German Lieder tradition, from Schubert and Schumann (including a rare soprano version of Dichterliebe) to Brahms, Wolf and Richard Strauss, all generously and intelligently chosen recitals; Danco herself regarded Schumann’s Op. 39 Liederkreis as one of her finest recordings. Wolf’s Elfenlied from sessions in December 1950 was discovered among the tapes and is published here for the first time in any format. A delightful pendant to Danco’s recording career is an album of 18th-century songs made for Philips Classics in October 1956 near her home in Florence, made with conductor Francesco Mollinari-Pradelli at the piano. The collection closes with an anthology of highlights from her contributions to classic Decca recordings of oratorio and opera, including her Cherubino, Donna Anna, Eurydice, Mélisande and Consuela (L’heure espagnole).
“Just the right balance between knowingness and innocence which lies at the heart of that equivocal role.” Daily Telegraph (Pelléas et Mélisande)
“Madame Danco’s fine voice and Ansermet’s magnificent accompaniment … It would be quite difficult to imagine a combination that could do more justice to these extremely beautiful songs.” Tempo, winter 1948 (Shéhérezade)