The charismatic Anita Rachvelishvili follows up her promising debut recording of standard mezzo arias with Élégie, a crowd-pleasing program of songs by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Tosti, Duparc, and Falla.

Anita Rachvelishvili
Partnered by Vincenzo Scalera, the Russian pieces are the most compelling and idiomatically delivered. Tchaikovsky’s None but the lonely heart opens the disc and shows off the mezzo’s many qualities to best advantage – an effortless legato line, sumptuous lyricism, and an evenness from top to bottom, not to mention Rachvelishvili’s inherently glamorous sound and dramatic sensitivity. Scalera is not quite on her level, his playing often falling short of the poetry these intimate pieces demand. Equally gripping is the mezzo’s rendition of the same composer’s Night , full of yearning and a sense of impending doom, while Primiren’ye takes us deep into our heroine’s predicament, Rachvelishvili moving from barely restrained emotion to feverish passion and then to a sense of intimate reflection.

The Rachmaninov songs are similarly powerful,...