Emily d'Angelo has already appeared in prestigious opera productions at the Metropolitan Opera and the Berlin State Opera. For her first solo project, released by Deutsche Grammophon, the Italian-Canadian mezzo-soprano has created a harmonious blend of sacred themes and female composers. The programme contrasts a selection of works by the 12th century mystic nun Hildegard von Bingen with contemporary pieces by composers Hildur Guðnadóttir, Missy Mazzoli and Sarah Kirkland Snider.
Enargeia is one of those albums that leaves you in silent wonder long after you've finished the last track. Emily d'Angelo explores a whole range of uncharted territories with her firm yet airy voice. First of all, we are amazed by Mazzoli and Snider's arrangements of Bingen's works, which are perfectly integrated into their own compositions. Emily d'Angelo shows immense vocal maturity in the contemporary pieces. A true musical Valkyrie, she takes the listener's soul on an achingly powerful journey of initiation. Focusing on the grand themes of spirituality, the content is enhanced by the combination of classical instrumentation and the subtle contribution of electronics.
Purists may lament the inadequacy of D'Angelo's vibrato for Bingen's medieval compositions. It is true that it is particularly prominent in the contemporary section of the selection, nevertheless, the boldness of such an artistic gesture is to be applauded. Enargeia is above all a sonic wandering in which the listener must accept losing all points of reference in order to reconnect with a wealth of archaic emotions.