ALBUM TITLE: Simon Keenlyside: Tales of Opera
WORKS: Arias by Rossini, Massenet,Verdi, Thomas, Bellini, Mozart, Leoncavallo, Cilea, Tchaikovsky, Wagner
PERFORMER: Simon Keenlyside (baritone); Munich Radio Orchestra/Ulf Schirmer
CATALOGUE NO: 82876 88482 2
This is the first operatic recital disc of the greatest lyric baritone of our time, indeed one of the greatest of any time. He submerges his personality in the roles he portrays, and does it with virtually unique insight and completeness. Everything is built, however, on superb breath control and a remarkable capacity for colouring the voice, combined with flawless legato, the principles underlying all great singing.
Keenlyside becomes 15 widely differing characters on this disc, giving them more individuality than almost any other singer would. We move from Rossini’s Figaro to his Guillaume Tell, exuberance to tender grief, and the effect is spellbinding. But that is the way the whole recital, with the competent accompaniment of the Munich Radio Orchestta under Ulf Schirmer, continues. The unctuous pomposity of Germont père in La traviata is as convincing as Posa’s heartbreaking farewell in Don Carlo, and whether in French, Italian, German or (slightly less idiomatically) Russian, Keenlyside creates each figure within a few seconds. I have heard very few operatic recitals that could compare with this. Michael Tanner