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Anne Sofie Von Otter
Opera Divas
Anne Sofie Von Otter - Watercolors: Swedish Songs

Anne Sofie Von Otter is a born singer of songs, and this collection of Swedish miniatures dating from about 1910 to the 1950s are easy to relate to both in their Romanticism and the direct, unaffected manner in which the fine mezzo puts each across. In Ture Rangström's "En gammal dansrytm" (Old Dance), she uncharacteristically slides into the song in a sultry fashion; it makes you sit up and listen. She rarely brings any darkness into her tone. In keeping with the CD's title, we get soft, Northern light in both her tone and pianist Bengt Forsberg's--and by so avoiding any false sense of drama, each song's subject, particularly the ones about nature are, well, natural. But when something else is called for, as in Bo Linde's "Är jag intill döden trött" ("I Am Tired to Death"), von Otter knows how to emphasize the text amost conversationally. This lovely collection of pastels occasionally threatens to evaporate, but close attention reveal true delights. The mezzo is in fine voice, with no "opera diva" behavior to get in the way of the songs' charms. A specialized collection, perhaps, but one which reaps fine rewards.

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