Julie Nesrallah ~ Mezzo Soprano
Described by Pacific Opera Victoria Artistic Director, Timothy Vernon, as “a future supernova,” Julie Nesrallah has achievements and standards of musical excellence established across the continent. Whether on the opera stage, performing oratorio, recital or symphonic works, cabaret or Argentine tangos, Miss Nesrallah is an extremely versatile and compelling singing actress, at ease in all styles, who dazzles audiences with her rich tone, agility, and deeply expressive communicative skills.
Miss Nesrallah is cast in principal roles by leading opera companies across North America and abroad. Roles include Carmen (Carmen), Isabella (L’Italiana in Algeri), Rosina (Il Barbiere di Siviglia), Angelina (La Cenerentola), Der Komponist (Ariadne auf Naxos), Cherubino (Le Nozze di Figaro), Suzuki (Madama Butterfly), Maddalena
(Rigoletto), Meg Page (Falstaff), Anita (West Side Story.
Caroline Léondardelli – Classical Harpist
Caroline Léonardelli, classical harpist, has an accomplished career at as a soloist, chamber musician, orchestral musician, and teacher. Born in France, Caroline graduated with first prize in harp from the Paris Conservatoire under the guidance of Jacqueline Borot at the age of 18. Caroline went on to advanced study with Judy Loman at McGill University. During her youth Caroline studied in France with Lily Laskine, one of the most celebrated harpists of the 20th century.
Caroline is Principal Harpist with the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra, and the Orchestre Symphonique de Gatineau. Caroline’s recording projects include the recently released and critically acclaimed Impressionism by the Para Arpa harp duo with Caroline Lizotte, and A Conte de Noel with the Ottawa Bach Choir. Caroline is a member of the Four Season’s Harp Quartet with harpists Jennifer Swartz, Lori Gemmell, and Caroline Lizotte.
"A jewel of a recording
Mezzo-soprano Julie Nesrallah and harpist Caroline Léonardelli complement each other wonderfully on Panache."
The Ottawa Citizen
Panache (Centaur Classics)Rating ****
What is the colour of Julie Nesrallah’s voice? Honey and occasionally caramel come to mind, but most of all one thinks of dusky gold. And what colour corresponds to Caroline Léonardelli’s playing?
Pearl, without a doubt. If you can imagine the musical equivalent of a golden broach studded with perfect pearls, you’ll have an idea of how this CD sounds.
More specifically, it includes 21 songs by nine composers. In most cases the harp accompaniments are arrangements of keyboard or orchestral originals. This isn’t as simple a process as it may seem.
Even though the written music for harp looks similar to that of the piano and is played with two hands, the harp has neither the piano’s dynamic range nor quite the same degree of chromatic flexibility.
The arrangements work well, even if it’s hard not to imagine the original piano setting hiding in the notes in Schumann’s Three Byron Songs, op. 95. Monteverdi’s Lasciatemi morire comes off especially well. It was conceived and written several generations before the piano was invented, and the composer would not have expected, or probably even imagined, the range and flexibility of the modern instrument.
There are also pieces specifically written for voice and harp by Marcel Tournier and Gabriel Fauré.
Not surprisingly, these songs are among the most appealing. Three songs by Debussy and Ravel’s Cinq melodies populaires grecques are of similar appeal despite being transcriptions.