One of the big claims to fame of last year’s star Rosenblatt Recitalist, Javier Camarena, was his encore as Ernesto in the Met’s production of Don Pasquale at the start of the year. For the second of this season’s recitals, we had the Norina of that production, Eleonora Buratto. A rare musical visitor to the United Kingdom, though with a growing reputation in America and in mainland Europe, Buratto’s recital once again validated Ian Rosenblatt’s wish to offer British audiences a chance to hear rising stars unfamiliar to them.

Eleanora Buratto © Jonathan Rose
Eleanora Buratto
© Jonathan Rose

Buratto’s programme was in the fairly common format of popular arias for the first half and songs/Lieder in the second. Generally, Buratto seemed on surer ground in the former. Opening with “Dove sono i bei momenti” from Le nozze di Figaro she made it clear that she is easily at home in the world’s larger houses. Generous in size, but also in tonal colour and resonance, there was plenty to admire in her voice, and her long smooth phrases were particularly enjoyable. Noticeable too was a clear syllabic savouring, an appreciation for the textual taste of what she was singing. Little flourishes of ornamentation added, rather than outshone the overall performance.

In “Giusto ciel! In tal periglio” from one of Rossini’s rarer operas, L’assedio di Corinto, she demonstrated a formidable higher register - easily reached and with arching, powerful top notes. Slightly less convincing was her “Casta diva” which did not strike me as an entirely comfortable fit for her voice yet: here the top sounded slightly abrasive and hectoring. However, Buratto’s account of “Mi chiamano Mimì” suggests promise in the later Italian repertoire, her voice bringing to life the bright (temporary) perkiness of the character, aided by good breath control and a touching, affected delicacy. All four arias showed an easy assumption of the various roles and deft characterisation which lent credibility to her singing.

Eleanora Buratto © Jonathan Rose
Eleanora Buratto
© Jonathan Rose
Buratto’s second half seemed less assured, not least because she seemed to be displaying a slight throat problem. This section was almost entirely dominated by Tosti, who steadily seems to be becoming a recital favourite; the five songs of the Malincolia cycle were well-sung, but Buratto seemed to lack the animation of the first half, being more score-bound and less confident. Still, she managed to bring a touch of wistful pain to L'ora è tarda and in Or dunque addio!, she showed a mellow lower register less obvious earlier in the evening. Her diction was variable, alas, particularly in the second Tosti cycle, Quattro canzoni d’Amaranta, but the buttery richness of the voice was there throughout.

Her partner for the evening, pianist Nazzareno Carusi, had a mixed evening. As an accompanist, he was a sensitive partner, alive to Buratto’s voice and always playing as if a deferential step behind her. Each half had a piano solo; the first was Mozart’s Fantasia in D minor, K397, which lacked cohesion and felt too disjointed at times. His performance of Liszt’s Sposalizio, though, was excellent; both open and intimate, there was obvious virtuosity in the deft precision of the playing. 

***11