Romantic duets showcase Vaice and Mok


For their debut recording, Romantic Duets, two gifted and young singers, soprano Sonora Vaice of the Latvian National Opera, and tenor Warren Mok, frequent guest artist of the LNO, have recorded eight duets from six renowned Italian operas: Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor and L’elisir d’amore, Verdi’s Rigoletto and La Traviata, as well as Puccini’s La Boheme and Madame Butterfly.

The tone color of Vaice’s bright yet passionate voice is elegantly matched by Mok’s clear and ardent singing. The excellent sonics have a vibrant quality well-suited to the soloists’ separate and combined vocal textures, which while easily encompassing both dramatic and lyrical operatic styles, in most of the tracks on this disc, tend to emphasize the former. Under the fine direction of maestro Normunds Vaicis, the Latvian National Opera Symphony Orchestra performs with great finesse, creating a pleasing dynamic balance with the timbre of the singers’ voices.

First on the disc are the three Donizetti duets: “Lucia, perdona…Sulla tomba che rinserra,” “Una parola, o Adina…Chiedi all’aura lusinghiera” and “Caro, Elisir, sei mio?…Esulti pur la barbara.” All make a striking impression, with both singers performing their virtuoso parts with dazzling ease and fervor.

My favorite performances on this release were those of the Verdi duets: “Signor ne principe…E il sol dell’ anima,” “Libiamo, libiamo ne’lieti calici” and “Amato Alfredo…Parigi, o cara, noi lasceremo…Ah non piu…a un tempio…,” since in all three the singers’ phrasing has a very natural and appealing flow. It should be noted that in 1992, Vaice made her operatic debut with the LNO as Gilda in Rigoletto. As heard on this disc, the interpretation of Gilda and Duca’s duet is dynamically and emotionally engaging, while Alfredo and Violeta’s duet from Act 1 is especially memorable for its lyricism.

To their performances of Puccini’s supremely masterful duets: “O soave fanciulla” and “Vieni la sera,” Vaice and Mok bring a fresh interpretation that is often technically and emotionally electrifying.

After listening to this recording, it is easy to understand why Christa Ludwig has described Vaice as “a great musician” and why, in writing about one of Warren Mok’s performances, the English Guardian newspaper has written: “His technique is rock solid, with beautiful, even timbre…”

To my knowledge, the particular compilation of duets chosen for this recording has not been reproduced on recent operatic releases, and so provides a welcome complement to the collections of operatic duets currently available. This charming recording, produced by the notable Latvian recording company, UPE, is certain to make a valuable addition to all opera lovers’ libraries.

(Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on


Romantic Duets

Sonora Vaice and Warren Mok

UPE Recording Co.,  1999


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *