- Flickan kom ifrån sin älsklings möte (The Maid Returned from Meeting her Lover), song for voice & piano, Op. 37/5
Karita Mattila, the down-to-earth diva with self-confidence to spare, rose to prominence in the early 1980s after winning the Cardiff "Singer of the World" competition. She began her recording career with Mozart but has since expanded her repertoire to include a variety of composers spanning the musical spectrum. Her voice defies classification: Softly warm and glowing, it seems as appropriate for Wagner and Strauss as for Verdi and Puccini. Karita Live!, recorded in performance with the Finnish Radio Symphony directed by Jukka-Pekka Saraste, highlights the Scandinavian soprano's eclectic abilities with a smorgasbord recital of famous arias and popular songs. From Elisabeth's stirring aria "Dich teure Halle" from Wagner's Tannhäuser to Puccini's celebrated "Vissi d'arte" to "Ich bin von Kopf bis Fuss auf Liebe eingestellt" (the song of weltschmerz immortalized by Marlene Dietrich) Mattila does it all with self-assured artistry. The encore finale, George Gershwin's "Summertime," may suffer from Mattila's slight Finnish accent, but the golden-voiced soprano slides and glides her way through Gershwin's classic with stylish, jazzy aplomb.