American soprano Nadine Sierra’s second solo album surveys three tragic heroines of opera – Violetta Valéry, Lucia di Lammermoor, and Gounod’s Juliette – roles for which she has won plaudits on the world stage. Partnered by the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della RAI conducted by Riccardo Frizza, her glossy, agile voice is a pleasure to listen to, her top notes thrilling in their apparent ease. What’s not fully developed yet is a sense of dramatic authority and total immersion in the character – Sierra is sometimes too self-effacing and restrained.

Nadine Sierra

Her Juliette is the most well-realised heroine here, spirited and hard-nosed. Sierra’s brilliance of tone and navigation of Gounod’s florid writing is often exceptional, and the character’s many showpiece arias are tied to specific emotion. Je veux vivre is infused with the right balance of joy and tension, while the Act 4 aria Amour, ranime mon courage reaches the tragic heights that it needs to.

This is the case to a slightly lesser degree in...