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Prima Classic

I am often asked why I started the Prima Classic record label.

I wished to leave to history the best that I can do in terms of quality of performance and artistry, plus the freedom to decide which repertoire to record at each stage of my career, and the desire to show to the world other great artists of our times.

I wanted to take a creative approach to each and every stage of recording, starting from choosing the orchestra, the conductor, the musicians, and the repertoire, and ending with the actual sound of recording and mastering, the cover design, and the booklet content.

There is also another reason – the sound quality of recordings. Some voices are considered good for recordings and others not. For example, in a live performance situation, big voices with large dynamics and amplitude (volume range from pianissimo to fortissimo) cut through the orchestra and fill a hall effortlessly, while on recordings they sound shouty, harsh, or too far away. On the other side of the coin are those voices that can’t be heard that well in a live performance but sound amazing on recordings.

When I met my husband, Edgardo Vertanessian, who is a sound engineer and co-founder of Prima Classic, he taught me a lot about the physical and technical aspects of recording. This process shouldn’t be the same for every voice. Instead, it can be a creative process adapted to each voice’s needs and capabilities.

At Prima Classic, our mission is to create “classic recordings” by way of preserving the best voices and performances of our times, captured under the best conditions. Our goal is not today’s market but creating a heritage for the future.

We also want to introduce opera to children around the world who do not live in major cities and are not exposed to the lyrical arts. To achieve this, we collaborate with Vox Vault (more info at www.voxvault.org) and ship hundreds of free CDs to music schools in South America. Also, our artists and staff participate in virtual workshops where we explain to hundreds of children at a time what it is that we do and how we do it. These meetings range from chats about performance to music score reading, and from recording techniques to classical music production. We get a hugely enthusiastic response, and we hope to inspire some of these children to pursue a career in the lyrical arts.