MOZART – GREAT MASS IN C MINOR
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Masaaki Suzuki 2015
Ms. Saturova was, quite simply, a wonder. Originally from Slovakia, she has, for a soprano, a slightly dark-hued tinge to her voice. Her combination of superb musical “chops” and that hint of mellowness to her voice fit the Great Mass to a tee. The solo line in the Kyrie contains two octave-and-a-half leaps – the kind of moment that makes you “jump in your seat” when you hear the run-of-the-mill operatic soprano sing it. Instead, Ms. Saturova clearly and cleanly sang the low note and then simply “placed” the high note with only the slightest variance in her tonal production and let the fantastic acoustics of The Music Center at Strathmore take over. The effect was sublime and, dare I say it, “religious” without drawing personal and egocentric attention to the soloist.
Later in the Great Mass, Ms. Saturova sang the composition’s vocal centerpiece, an eight-minute aria on a single sentence beginning Et incarnatus est (“And was made incarnate”) that can be found in every advanced classical soprano’s songbook. Not only did Ms. Saturova perfectly execute her coloratura passages, but Et incarnatus est also involves three solo instrumental lines that Mozart ingeniously interweaves with the singer. These lines were perfectly and beautifully played by BSO principal flutist Emily Skala, principal bassoonist Fie Xie, and especially Assistant Principal Oboist Melissa Hooper. The mix of Ms. Saturova’s special brand of soprano and Ms. Hooper’s oboe playing was incredible.
David Rohde, DC Metro Theater Arts
The BSO assembled a sterling quartet of soloists for the occasion. Simona Saturova’s silvery soprano provided particular pleasure; her long-breathed account of the sublime “Et incarnatus est,” capped by a radiant cadenza, proved especially memorable (the woodwind soloists in this movement sounded equally inspired).
Tim Smith, The Baltimore Sun
Crowning the choir’s work was a stupendous performance by Slovak soprano Simona Houda-Šaturová. Her voice was laser precise and perfectly placed from a firm low A-flat to a crystalline high C in her two solo movements.
Charles T. Downey, The Washington Post
Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Helmuth Rilling, Toronto 2006
“But only the Slovak soprano Simona Saturova reached outside the confines of the Rilling envelope, and Rilling and the orchestra — I’m sure as entranced as her audience — abetted her doing so. Saturova, her crystalline voice rising quietly out of her own perfect stillness, brought Mozart’s rapt Christe eleison, the spiritual jewel at the centre of his riven and restless Kyrie eleison, into heart-stopping focus. Music and meaning were one in this hushed plea for mercy, and every ear in the auditorium conspired in it. If possible, Saturova was even closer to the ineffable in her fulfilment of this mass’s most famous solo, the Et incarnatus est (And was made flesh). She gave us not only its extraordinary beauty and its exquisite tests of skill, but also its boundless spiritual dimension; not only its music, but also its sacred essence.”
KEN WINTERS , The Globe and Mail, Oct. 27, 2006
A wonderful discovery was Slovakian soloist Simona Saturova, who has a lithe, lyrical soprano voice that is ideally suited to Mozart’s music. She modulated easily between quiet, meditative singing (that still managed to be heard above the instrumentalists) and powerful blasts that never sounded shrill.”</review>
JOHN TERAUDS, The Toronto Star, Oct. 26, 2006
The surprise of the evening was the unknown Slovak Simona Houda-Šaturová whose warmly-coloured soprano, after a reserved start with the “Laudamus” aria and the duet “Domine Deus,” continued to intensify, becoming more and more unfettered. Her aria “Agnus Dei,” which Robert Levin took from “Davidde penitente,” was the lone climax of this initial concert. And here Grosser’s words of balance were finally fulfilled with the inner peace of the flawless vocal culture of the soprano, whose elegance and brilliance was a truly joyful gift.
MARKUS DIPPOLD, © 2006/09/05 Stuttgarter Zeitung