ALBUM TITLE: Thomas Allen
WORKS: Arias, Vol. 2: from Don Giovanni, Marriage of Figaro, Magic Flute, Falstaff, Don Carlos, La traviata, Macbeth and Knickerbocker Holiday
PERFORMER: Thomas Allen (baritone); Susan Gritton, Claire Rutter (soprano), Gwyn Hughes Jones (tenor), Philip Tebb (bass); Philharmonia Orchestra/David Parry
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 3155
Thomas Allen’s second volume of arias in English – ranging from Mozart to ‘September Song’ from Weill’s Knickerbocker Holiday – is not so much a compilation of bleeding chunks as an anthology of somewhat bloodless extracts. Unfailingly beautifully phrased and enunciated, Allen’s singing for the most part has too little dramatic presence and character here: his own skills as a stage director bow to the presence of the music-stand. Time and again, his voice seems to crave something both brisker and more exciting than the safe accompaniments provided by the Philharmonia and David Parry. Papageno stays earthbound, and Figaro’s two arias really don’t seem to be addressed to anyone at all.Allen is better in soliloquy and in duet. Falstaff’s great dream of cuckoldry, and Macbeth’s vision of desolate old age are magnificent. So, too, are Allen’s lengthier scenes as the dying Rodrigo from Don Carlos and as Germont père with Claire Rutter’s Violetta, from La traviata .