"Pilar Lorengar, the Spanish singer whose adopted home city was Berlin, especially owed her worldwide but unobtrusive fame to the operatic stage. She was famous for a repertoire ranging from the youthful heroines of Mozart, the youthful dramatic heroines of Verdi and Puccini to tragic girlish figures such as Tchaikovsky‘s Tatiana and Janáček‘s Jenůfa. The three CDs of the present compilation with arias and Lieder contain sound documents from the singer‘s first Berlin years, studio and live recordings made between 1959 and 1962.
Lorengar shows herself from a rather unusual side in them, both in the field of opera and in the Lieder: she is not heard here in her established Mozart role of Donna Elvira, but as Donna Anna; in addition, she can be heard singing repertoire that was unusual for her, e.g. the prayer „Casta Diva“ from Bellini‘s Norma, „Piangerò la sorte mia“ from Handel‘s Cleopatra and a Handel cantata, an aria from a Scarlatti opera, the „Ernani, involiami“ of Elvira from Verdi‘s early opera „Ernani“ and the role of Rosario from the opera „Goyescas“ by Granados. The Mozart singer also reveals herself here to be an agreeable Lied singer; where she already brings her sensitivity for this genre into play with Mozart, she then enriches her programme with the inclusion of a love lament by Bellini and Lied-like aria sketches – four canzonette by the young Verdi.
With two thirds of this anthology, Pilar Lorengar then covers an area that pays homage to the musical traditions of her homeland. As a young schoolgirl in Madrid, she acquired extensive theatrical practice and presence in the music cafes and the zarzuela theatre. In her contributions to the present release, she unfolds a panorama of Spanish music history extending over five centuries, ranging from the vocal art of the 16th-century vihuelistas to the folklore collections and adaptations of Federico García Lorca. The modern guitar is the legitimate successor to the time-honoured vihuela, and Siegfried Behrend is Pilar Lorengar‘s congenial partner in these art songs."