One of the brightest stars in the 20th-century operatic firmament, the Pennsylvania-born soprano Anna Moffo (1932–2006) enjoyed a meteoric rise in the 1950s and 1960s that saw her conquer all the major opera houses in Europe and America. After making her Metropolitan Opera début in 1959 as Violetta in La traviata, she went on to appear with the company in 200 performances of 21 roles over a total of 18 seasons, before finally singing her last complete performance – once again as Verdi’s Violetta – and retiring from the stage in 1976. Specially released to mark the 10th anniversary of Anna Moffo’s death, Sony Classical releases for the first time, newly mastered from the original analogue tapes using 24bit/96kHz technology.
This is Alina's second album. In the absence of any promotional blurb from Lithuania, we learn instead via Moscow that Orlova committed these songs to tape with nothing more than a couple of additional musicians. As a result, the "aestheticized cabaret" style of earlier recordings, full of accordions and other mobile tools, has become markedly simpler. This week's CD in its stripped-down format "was very carefully constructed. Each and every note has been hung in the air; each note is in its correct place." Looking for phrases to encapsulate that same, delicate magic, our Moscow-based author suggests that the songs even have a "visionary, divinely gothic" structure. Or, on other occasions, they become a kind of "cafe/chamber pop." Most of these fragile offerings are performed in Orlova's native Lithuanian, with an occasional detour into Russian or English.
Who doesn’t love a quirky girl with a piano? The past 30 years of rock music have given us Kate Bush, Tori Amos, and Regina Spektor, each garnering comparisons to one another to be fiercely denied and disputed by their devoted followers. Alina Orlova, the latest quirky girl with a piano awaiting her devotees, distinguishes herself primarily with Eastern European influences in what are otherwise slightly left of mainstream pop songs. Her full length debut, Laukinis Suo Dingo, (which literally translates from Lithuanian as ‘Dog Gone Wild’), is peppered with accordion jaunts, sampled drums, and glockenspiels, but it is, essentially, the insistent piano that drives it forward.