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I first heard South African soprano Pumeza Matshikiza at the 2010 Wexford Festival, when she stole everyone’s heart in Smetana’s The Kiss. Now she is the recipient of high-profile record company packaging in a 15-track crossover disc that intermingles operatic arias and songs representing black African and American culture.

Each number advertises an ample and well controlled lyric voice, especially appealing in her three Puccini arias and the lilting Swahili song “Malaika”.

Her Mozart (“Vedrai, carino” from Don Giovanni) is less assured, and it’s not clear what artistic purpose this potpourri serves – apart from promoting Matshikiza in the glamour stakes before she has created a solid foundation of experience.

Pumeza Matshikiza

Voice of Hope

(Decca)

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