The Polish tenor’s move into a heavier repertoire than hitherto associated with him is amply vindicated in this celebratory CD to mark the 200th anniversary of Verdi’s birth. Piotr Beczala’s Duke in Rigoletto, Alfredo in Traviata and Gustavo in Ballo in maschera are familiar on stage, but to the latter already heavier assignment he adds here extracts from Don Carlo, Aida and Il trovatore, all confirming the lirico-spinto weight he is developing from his pure lyric tenor.
Yet he retains the golden quality of his voice as he sizes up. The result is singing on a grand scale, impeccable in diction, tone and musicianship (even if he allows himself a fortissimo ending to ‘Celeste Aida’), and consistently buoyant in achieving its expressive goals.
Beczala is finely supported by the Polish Radio Symphony Orchestra under conductor ¬ukasz Borowicz, who is unusually observant of the detail in Verdi’s writing. Borowicz is also able to call on two other leading Polish singers for fine contributions – Ewa Podles´ makes a grand Azucena in the Trovatore duet, Mariusz Kwiecien a determined Posa in the Don Carlo extract. Beczala’s central contribution, meanwhile, is exemplary.