Originally issued on Deutsche Grammophon in 1986, Songs My Country Taught Me finds mezzo-soprano Agnes Baltsa performing alongside the Athens Experimental Orchestra conducted by Stavros Xarhakos for a recording of songs from her Greek heritage. Composers include Manos Hadjidakis, Mikis Theodorakis, Stavros Xarhakos and Vasilis Tsitsanis.
"Singing in her native tongue Baltsa phrases and projects the words with the subtlety and boldness only possible with total familarity and understanding. No operatic popmosities here, but the sureness and strengh of a trained voice doing full justice to a collection of infectiously melodic songs, ranging from the dreamily sensual to the playfully rugged, which seem to have an element of the operatic in them. The convincing arrangements by Xarhakos mostly use plucked instruments for the essential Greek sound." — Sue Hudson, Hi-Fi News
"Baltsa's singing - clean, clear, cultivated, and free, with a bewitching sound — is worldclass." — Opus (New York)
Mezzo-soprano Agnes Baltsa performs alongside the Athens Experimental Orchestra conducted by Stavros Xarhakos for this recording of songs from her Greek heritage. Composers include Manos Hadjidakis, Mikis Theodorakis, Stavros Xarhakos and Vasilis Tsitsanis.
In 1968 Baltsa made her first appearance as Cherubino (Le Nozze di Figaro, Mozart) at the Frankfurt Opera, followed by Octavian (Der Rosenkavalier, R. Strauss) at the Vienna State Opera in 1970. She was one of the youngest Ocativians ever at the Vienna State Opera.
From that year on, her career developed rapidly: the Deutsche Oper Berlin, various opera houses in the United States (among which the Metropolitan Opera in New York), the Bavarian State Opera (München), Govent Garden, Zürich, the Paris Opera etc. Under the guidance of Herbert von Karajan, she was a regular guest at the Salzburger Festspiele. Her repertory includes works by Mozart (Le Nozze di Figaro, Cosi fan Tutte, Requiem, etc.), Rossini (Il Barbiere di Siviglia, La Cenerentola, L'Italiana in Algeri), Mascagni (Cavalleria Rusticana), Verdi (Aida, La Forza del Destino, Il Trovatore, Don Carlo, Requiem) and Bellini (I Capuleti e I Montecchi), Donizetti (Il Campanello, Maria Stuarda), etc. But she is, of course, most famous for her performance of Carmen (Bizet), a role she has sung with José Carreras, Placido Domingo and Niel Shicoff many times.
"Baltsa brings depth and unexpected tone colours to the Theordorakis settings." - Record Review / David Nice, BBC Music Magazine (London) / 01. September 2008
Cut at Emil Berliner Studio - Pressed at Pallas GmbH Germany - Audiophile Lacquer Discs Cut by the Expert "Maarten de Boer"
Agnes Baltsa, vocals
Athens Experimental Orchestra
Kostas Papadopoulos, solo bouzouki
Stavros Xarhakos, conductor
1. Garífallo st'aftí (A carnation behind your ear)
2. Oniro pedión tis gitoniás (Dream of urban children)
3. O tahidrómos (The postman)
4. Méra Magioú (A day in May)
5. To tréno févgi stis októ (The train leaves at eight)
6. Se pótisa rodóstamo (I gave you rose-water to drink)
1. Stou Othona ta hrónia (When Otto was king)
2. Áspri méra ke ya mas (There will be better days, even for us)
3. Varkarólla (Barcarolle)
4. Ta tréna pou fígan (The trains which left)
5. Arhóntissa (Princess of my heart)